“When you’re around her, she brightens your day,” says Chynna Hernandez, one of Candace Pedraza’s best friends.
Ms. Pedraza, born on September 25, 1996, is a 16 year-old high school junior who goes to Lehman High School. She is a Puerto Rican who was born in the Bronx and raised Catholic, but she says she does not practice any religion.
“I don’t believe in anything, I think it’s weird. I just don’t feel like it’s something that I have to do,” Ms. Pedraza says.
Ms. Pedraza has only one sister, Nicole Pedraza, who is 21. The older Pedraza thinks her sister is weird because she would take the cheese of her pizza, eat the pizza then eat the cheese afterwards. However, to Pedraza, that is very normal. Some of her friends also think that she is “weird” because she pronounces “ketchup” as “catch-up,” Pedraza recalls.
Pedraza says she is not very social and outgoing but she has four best friends: Justin Vega, Emily Brugman, Adina Farinango and Chynna Hernandez. You may ask, “how come she has best friends if she’s not very social?” There’s always something that bonds people together, Pedraza finds.
In an interview, her friend Vega explained how he knew Pedraza a little from classes they were in together but became close when they got into the same school program, Peer Group Connection. The program consists of meeting sections with incoming freshmen that they mentored.
Having common interests and personalities allowed the rest of her now-friends to be able to interact with each other, and Ms. Pedraza, more freely, she says.
Though many people think that Pedraza is “weird,” her friends understand her perfectly and say she is good to be around because she is interesting, funny, a great friend, and has a great sense of humor.
Her friend Hernandez also thinks Pedraza is “very into social justice,” Hernandez says.
“Teens don’t use the internet for what it should be used for. It can be used for great information and not stupid stuff,” says Pedraza, sharing her ideas about how social media is affecting teenagers.
Pedraza also has views on the world and government, and said that, “the world is very bleak but can get better.”
“I’m not okay with how the government is,” she added, and explained, “ I don’t agree with how they favor the opinions of the rich over the opinions of the needy, and how they try to control the lives of people who don’t effect them at all like women and minorities.”
Pedraza holds on strongly to her ideas. As her friend Vega said, “She’s not like the mass population, she sticks to herself with her own beliefs so she is weird in a non-conformative sense.”
Pedraza’s hobbies range from listening to music – including artists like Macklemore, Marina and the Diamonds, Charlie XCX, Vampire Weekend, Ke$ha and many more – walking in the city, and going to the library with friends. She would like to attend college in Chicago because she wants to get out of New York and try to pursue a career in journalism.
“When she’s very passionate about something, she dives in it and that’s what I like about her,” says her friend Hernandez.