Today we’d like to introduce you to Corey Hegel.
Corey, let’s start with your story. We’d love to hear how you got started and how the journey has been so far.
I am part of the Class of 2020, graduating high school during Covid-19. My school, Orange County School of the Arts, was shuttered mid-March like other schools around the country. It has been challenging navigating through these uncertain times. Being separated from friends has been difficult, especially because we are going off to attend different universities across the nation. I wanted to spend our last few months together and was looking forward to the prom, Grad Nite and graduation.
I was accepted at UC Berkeley. We are having distance learning, so I have not relocated yet and still in Southern California. I hope to move up to Berkeley in the spring of 2021.
I was a performer at the Great Wolf Lodge and Water Park, which had to close. I was doing some model work and the industry also came to a standstill.
However, I believe hard times can challenge us to become better people. We are at a crossroads in the world and I believe we can come out of the pandemic stronger and kinder.
We’re always bombarded by how great it is to pursue your passion, etc – but we’ve spoken with enough people to know that it’s not always easy. Overall, would you say things have been easy for you?
Going through the college admissions process was not easy but rewarding. I believe in education reform so that all students who seek higher education can do so regardless of socioeconomic status.
We’d love to hear more about your work and what you are currently focused on. What else should we know?
I am an Ocean Ambassador to a company called Shore Buddies. They make stuffed animals made out of plastic and part of the proceeds from the sale goes to ocean conservation.
What were you like growing up?
I grew up with my mother and grandparents. I was shy. I became more outgoing after I started taking dance and Taekwondo lessons. I was always interested in marine life. I learned my love of the ocean after I participated in a Junior Lifeguards Program in Laguna Beach.
- Instagram: @coreyhegel_
Photographer: James Giovanni Pan