few minutes with" is a lighter look at a student who has recently
been in the news.
22-year-old Leah Gonzalez, a junior majoring in dance. This former
Rookie of the Year for the Oakland
to graduate next spring and come back to the Raiders for her third
season. Teaching dance classes, attending acting auditions and training
to be a trapeze artist for Cirque
du Soleil keep this Bay Area native
active, healthy and happy.
Who are your heroes?
One, (laughs) it kind of sounds cheesy, but, my mom. I just really
admire her because she's very supportive. And she really encourages
me to go for what I want to do and to pursue my goals. And who would
have thought that I would have wanted to join the circus! You know
what I mean? (laughs) She really backs me up 100 percent and the
same with my brother. He's a magician. She has kids that decided
to pick some weird professions, and she's supportive of that.
What was your first job?
gymnastics at a little dance studio in Pinole. But my first "job" job
was at In & Out in Pinole. With the big ol' diaper pins [in the
hat]! I like the food better now that I don't have to eat it as
often. Most of my jobs have been either teaching gymnastics or dance.
What are your long-term goals?
in a year, I'm going to get my resume, videos and everything ready to
take to Cirque du Soleil. It's very competitive. You
have to stand out to them -- there has to be something to draw you
What is your favorite off-campus hangout?
love watching movies. I'll probably either be at the movie theater, or
at my boyfriend's watching a movie. Relaxing, just, you know, letting
my body rest.
Recently, I started knitting. So I'm learning how to do that right
now, making scarves! It's kind of like a stress-reliever.
What is the most important issue facing college students today?
think a lot of college students don't get enough sleep. … You're
studying so much and reading so much and doing homework that you end
up staying up really late.
If you could change one thing about SFSU, what would it be?
Free parking. Or a pass that you could buy for a semester, then you
won't have to have money every day to pay for parking.
Do you have a favorite quote?
"Great dancers are not great because of their technique, they
are great because of their passion," by Martha Graham. It can
apply to anything.
What is guaranteed to bring a smile to your day?
much anything will make me smile or laugh. It's funny because when
I was in high school or cheering with the Raiders, if I'd come in
and I'm not smiling they'd say, "What's wrong?"
Writer Lisa Rau with Matt Itelson
Photo: Olan Mills