The student news site of West Chicago Community High School

Wildcat Chronicle

The student news site of West Chicago Community High School

Wildcat Chronicle

The student news site of West Chicago Community High School

Wildcat Chronicle

Humans of WEGO: In touch with his roots

Senior Krystian Roldan is rooted in his Polish and Filipino culture, and has a deep love for his parents.
Mike and Krystian Roldan walk onto the court together during the boys’ basketball Senior Night game.

Special thanks to Austin Sanchez for his contributions to this article.

Although known for being a year-round athlete who plays football during fall, basketball during winter, and most recently, volleyball during spring, senior Krystian Roldan is much more than an athlete. He is a good student, a best friend, and a cherished son who takes pride in his culture.

Little Krystian Roldan posing for a baseball picture (Photo Courtesy of Mike and Renata Roldan)

Krystian grew up with a Polish mother and Filipino father, and his family is his whole world. Krystian describes his father, Mike, as his “hero” and he looks up to him. In fact, Krystian’s love of sports is a nod towards his dad.

“I think it’s just inspiration to please my dad. I’ve always wanted to live up to his expectation as an athlete. Even though he doesn’t play football, coach football, I still want to live up to his expectations of being a good athlete, and just representing my life, and my family,” Krystian said.

From the time he could walk, Krystian says he was playing basketball.

“He was exposed to sports at a very young age, as his dad use to run a Filipino basketball recreational league, and his older brother, Daniel, played in the feeder program and the league. Daniel was a Varsity basketball player at West Chicago [High School] when he was a junior and senior grade level so he got to watch him a lot and learned how to play,” Renata, Krystian’s mom, said via email.

Recently, this Athlete of the Week was recognized for his 1000th career assist in volleyball, as well. And while Krystian may have other career plans in mind, sports will undoubtedly remain part of his future.

“I kind of want to pursue kinesiology in college. I want to be an athletic trainer or work with athletes – maybe even come back to this school, and work here. But I definitely do want to stay in the atmosphere of athletics,” Krystian said.

Another one of Krystian’s goals, not only as a senior, but also as he embraces the next chapter of his life, is to become even more connected and close to his parents by learning about their cultures, and where they are from. 

“As much as possible, when we went back to the Philippines, we did many cultural things, and I would try and participate,” Krystian said. 

Krystian believes one of his top priorities is to be in touch with his roots, to always remember he is the one representing not just his parents, but also his grandparents.

“He is a funny kid, and very polite and respectful to his elders. He loves his family and always cared about his grandparents,” Renata said.

Respecting and understanding the culture of his ancestors is something Krystian hopes to one day pass on to his own kids. 

“His bond with his culture, I think is something very important to Krystian. He always mentions something about being Polish or Filipino. Always appreciates where his parents come from,” former West Chicago Community High School student (’23) and Krystian’s friend Chad Mayuga said. 

Photo of the Roldan family on vacation in the Phillipines. (Photo courtesy of Krystian Roldan)

In the summer of 2019, Krystian had the opportunity to travel to the Philippines, where he was able to meet and spend time with people from his dad’s hometown. Meeting this old friends made Krystian fall in love with the Philippines, but also made him further appreciate the life he has in the U.S. Nonetheless, Krystian is hopeful the 2019 trip was not his last.

“I would love to go again, it was great,” Krystian said. 

During the summer of 2018, Krystian and his family headed to Poland, where mom Renata’s family hails from, for a vacation. Krystian, who attributes his desire for organization and neatness to his mom, was able to learn more about her culture and hometown.

Visiting both countries helped him find similarities between the two cultures, but also differences that made each one unique. 

“In certain aspects, they are the same, but in others, they are completely different,” Krystian said.

One notable difference? The music.  

Although Krystian is proud of his heritage and represents his parents proudly, that does not mean he has had an easy experience. Krystian still recalls a basketball game during his sophomore year in which he was in the middle of throwing free throws when an opponent came up to him and said some racial slurs.

“I do my best to not let it get to me because if I do, I know I’m letting them win. So I ignore it, and stay positive,” Krystian said. 

His can-do attitude comes as no surprise to his parents.

“What makes us proud is how he has grown up to be a very caring and very polite young man. We know he always tries to be the best version of himself everyday,” Mike and Renata said.

Both Renata and Mike are nurses, and so it is perhaps from them that Krystian has grown up with a desire to help others as well. Although he is still not sure what he wants to do in the long-term, Krystian is considering a career in emergency services. 

Our hope is that he continues to grow and be a responsible human being and be able to choose a career that he will thrive in. He has talked about being a firefighter and a paramedic to help and save lives of people that might need his help in the future,” Mike and Renata said.

With graduation on the horizon, Krystian will leave big shoes to fill on the many athletic teams in which he takes part.

“Krystian has been a three-year Varsity starter, and is a leader within our program, serving as a Varsity captain for the past two years. We will miss Krystian next year, but can’t wait to see where his career takes him,” boys’ volleyball coach Mackenzie Bell said.

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Alexa Morales
Alexa Morales, Features Editor
Although Alexa is a senior at WEGO, she is the captain of the dance team. Something unique about Alexa is that she was an exchange student in France for a week and a half last spring. Alexa's favorite music artist at the moment is Lana Del Rey. Looking ahead into her future, Alexa is planning to go to college to be a nurse.
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