Meet Berwyn’s Next Gen: Zaylene Mendoza of Morton West High School

You’ve heard it before—our children are the future. Well lucky for Berwyn, we have some of the neatest kids around. Meet Berwyn’s Next Generation! These kids are working hard, whether it’s on the field, in the classroom or at work. Get to know more about the phenomenal young people making Berwyn a better place for their peers and for their community, enjoy!

Meet Zaylene Mendoza, Senior at Morton West High School (
2400 S Home Ave), est. 1958
Hometown: Berwyn, IL
Current residence: Berwyn, IL
All about Zaylene: My name is Zaylene Mendoza. I’m 18 years young and currently live in Berwyn, Illinois. I live with my parents, younger brother and of course I can’t forget my three dogs. I’m currently a senior with a 3.5 GPA at Morton West High School patiently waiting to graduate. I’m very involved in school athletics-wise. I was on the volleyball team all four years and currently I’m on my fourth track and field season as a pole vaulter. Although I enjoy being athletic, I’m most passionate about art—whether its photography or drawing. I enjoy working on new projects and being able to portray what I feel and what I believe through my art. Not only do I enjoy art, I also seem to be good at it. I entered one of my pieces into the Elmhurst College exhibition and managed to win a scholarship to attend and study art there. I’d like to attend Elmhurst and continue my journey in the art department! I hope to become an art professor and continue to keep my eye for creativity alive.

About Morton West High School
J. Sterling Morton West High School is a four-year public High school in Berwyn, IL. Morton West has been serving the communities of Berwyn, Stickney, Forest View and a portion of Lyons for almost 60 years. There are currently 3,528 total students enrolled at Morton West with the average class size being 25-1. Last year a total of 2,148 AP exams were taken by 1,038 students. Of those, 33.3% received a score of 3 or higher. J. Sterling Morton District 201 was named College Board’s 2016 AP District of the year.

Describe yourself using 3 words.
I would say that I’m creative, dedicated and funny. I have an eye for creativity, as showcased through my work and I’m very dedicated, especially with my art. If I start a project, I have to finish it. I’m a pretty funny person and always enjoy making others laugh. I hope these traits continue to define me beyond high school and into the future.

What inspires you?
My parents are my inspiration, they are the reason I am who I am now. When I show them my work, they encourage me to keep doing what I’m doing and to continue my passion for art. When I’m not too sure about a certain piece, my parents always remind me that my art is mine and that not everyone will enjoy it, but as long as I do then my art will always be successful. It’s a part of me, it’s who I am in art form. My parents keep me going with their love and encouragement and I want to continue to make them proud.

Tell us something people might not know about you.
One thing many people may not know about me is that I’m actually not a big fan of being the center of attention. Although I’m outgoing and I get recognized for my achievements, I normally don’t know what to say or do once I am questioned in person. I struggle to explain my work face to face but, when it comes to writing I can write paragraphs of explanations.

Which place would you like to visit and why?
One place I would like to visit would have to be Thailand because they have a place called Anatara Golden Triangle Elephant Camp. Basically, you get to be up close with the famed gentle giants while staying at a luxurious resort. I love elephants, so to me this would be a great experience. I can’t imagine what it’s like to be next to such a beautiful, gentle and loving animal!

Would you rather meet your ancestors of descendants?
I would rather meet my descendants. Imagine being able to look into the future and see what your descendants have accomplished! By then I’d be long gone, so I wouldn’t know what they’d be doing. To be able to get a glimpse of my family’s future would be outstanding. I could easily find out who my ancestors were through the various websites, but you don’t  see any descendant sites allowing you to see who will be keeping your family name alive.

If someone made a movie of your life would it be a drama, a comedy, a romantic-comedy, action film, or science fiction?
If someone made a movie of my life, it would be a comedy. Every day that I’ve been on this planet, I’ve managed to make others laugh. My entire family is full of people who are goofy and we always have a laugh when we gather together for family parties. Even during serious moments, we end up laughing because we’re all jokers. The sound of laughter is very contagious in my household.

Connect with J. Sterling Morton West High School

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