From the outside, Lexi looked like a typical teenager growing up in Concord, California, not one whose parents were both struggling with drug addiction. With school, soccer, friends, and helping to care for her younger sister, Lexi was able to keep busy, leave her problems at home, and put on a happy face.
However, in 2020, COVID-19 flipped the high school senior’s life upside-down. She was no longer able to escape her reality, and instead was forced to witness the chaos of her parents’ addiction first-hand. Despite these challenges, Lexi became the first person in her family to graduate from high school and eventually the first to attend college.
Between graduation and starting college, her father was arrested and had to spend three months in a sobriety program. Although this was an important step for him in getting his life together, it meant Lexi and her sister were left alone to care for their mother who was still suffering from her addiction. The stress of that summer, along with the fear of being unable to enroll at Sonoma State and the cancellation of the 2020 season, was nearly too much for the 18-year-old to handle. At the urging of a friend, she sought counseling.
“My counselor helped me grow and allowed me to see that people can heal from past wounds and traumas,” said Lexi. “I believe mental health is super important, and I’m going to continue to make it a priority in my life. I’ve been able to overcome so much by receiving help and learning how to communicate my feelings, rather than brush them aside. I feel incredibly blessed and thankful that I have come out on the other side and can break the cycle in my family for future generations to come.”
Lexi Zandonella-Arasa, Sonoma State University
Following the cancellation of the 2020 season, Lexi earned a starting position for the Seawolves in 2021, helping lead them to a 15-6 record. She started all 21 games and led the team with 14 points and 6 goals. This season, through 14 games, she leads the team with 29 points, 11 goals, and 7 assists. A business major with a 3.59 GPA, she made the Dean’s List last semester and earned California Collegiate Athletic Association All-Academic team honors.