Diego Andrade explores the LA Times office during the second week of the HSI summer internship. (Maya Henry)


From DC comic books to debate, Diego Andrade is ready for a summer of hard work

Once an aspiring firefighter, rising senior Diego Andrade is now filling his summer with journalism, late night drives and comic books - and he couldn't be happier.
<a href="https://highschool.latimes.com/author/bookpapaya/" target="_self">Maya Henry</a>

Maya Henry

July 12, 2023

Diego Andrade didn’t get into journalism because of an interest in politics, a moving article, or a love for writing. All of that, Andrade said, came later. Rather, what first sparked the rising high school senior’s interest in journalism was DC character Clark Kent’s day job working as a reporter for Metropolis’ fictional publication, The Planet. 

It was years later, when Andrade started high school at the Maywood Center for Enriched Studies, that he had a chance to turn his love for comics into a byline of his own. Andrade joined his school’s paper the Wolfpack Times as a junior, serving as photo editor. Though he has worked on many projects with both the Wolfpack Times and High School Insider, his favorite piece allowed him to interview Paul Montes, one of Dr. Dre’s producers.

Though Andrade loves journalism, he said he has no plans to pursue it as a career; rather, he hopes to apply the skills he is learning through it – writing, critical thinking, and media consumption – first as a political science major in college, and later, as an attorney. 

Andrade said that if you’d told him 10 years ago that practicing law was his dream job, his younger self wouldn’t believe it.

“I wanted to be a firefighter, but not for the reasons you’re thinking,” Andrade said. “I didn’t wanna save anyone. I didn’t wanna wear a big red hat. In cartoons, [firefighters] were always living in a firehouse and eating spaghetti. Little me was thinking: free housing and I get to eat spaghetti all day? That’s a good job.”

Andrade and his debate partner, Abraham Esquivel, pose with mini gavels after a debate tournament during the 2022-2023 debate season. (Photo courtesy of Diego Andrade)

Though quite the transition from Andrade’s former dreams of firefighting, he said he is excited to pursue law, especially given his background in debate. Last school year, Andrade was one of the founding members of MACES’ debate team. Though time-consuming, Andrade said he prefers his day – and summer – busy. 

“Summer is meant to be like this really huge break from school, where you’re always doing something. And to me, since it’s a big switch from always doing something to doing nothing entirely, it just hits me hard.”

To fill up his summer this year, Andrade is interning for HSI, taking classes at East Los Angeles College, prioritizing reading good books – like his favorite, “The Count of Monte Cristo”– and listening to more music. Andrade said when it comes to music, he likes “a little bit of everything.” 

“I like a little bit of Weeknd, I like a little bit of Kendrick, I like a little bit of old, old music,” he said.

Andrade’s 13 year old sister Julia said her favorite tradition with Diego Andrade is blasting such music on late night drives with her brother. Julia Andrade, who described her brother as “a role model and a moral compass,” said she’s interested to see what he learns from the HSI internship. 

For Andrade, he’s both excited and nervous for the internship, especially when it comes to interviewing people and learning how to cold call sources. As a self-described introvert, Andrade said the idea of calling on someone unannounced is “nerve wracking.” But, Andrade is hopeful that in the internship’s six week run, his nerves will turn to confidence. 

Though Andrade’s journey to spending his summer writing was a long one marked with twists and turns, Andrade said he’s, more than anything, excited to go full circle: from loving Clark Kent to making his Clark Kent dreams come true.

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