MS. SILVA: Receptionist loves teens, is used to hard work


Ezra Fax

DRIVEN: Ms. Silva’s main goal is to always be the most dependable person in the room.

By Lucy Fried, Arts & Culture Editor

Growing up as the second of five children in a low-income family in South Los Angeles, Ms. Daniella Silva said that she never really felt like a teenager.  However, she believes that teenagers are at the best stage of their lives.

“You will inherit the earth,” said Ms. Silva in an interview. “You’re so young, and you’re so motivated to change the world, all you need is the right people to talk to, the right people to motivate you.”

After working her way through college in jobs ranging from canvassing for businesses to private tutoring, Ms. Silva is now the fulltime receptionist at Shalhevet, occupying the office by the entry doors where Ms. Muriel Ohana sat last year. Ms. Ohana, assistant to the head of school, has moved to an office in the administrative wing. and assumed the additional role of Development Associate.

Ms. Silva went to two high schools, both located in South Central Los Angeles — Fremont High School for grades nine and 10, and Animo Pat Brown Charter High School for her junior and senior years. At Animo Pat Brown, she was editor of her school newspaper, the Griffin Gazette.

She then attended UC Riverside and graduated with a major in creative writing. Ms. Silva was the first in her family to attend college. 

“Nobody in my family knows what that’s like except for me, which is something I savor,” she  said.

Ms. Silva tutored students both at Vista De Lago High School in Moreno Valley and independently, and also worked in a variety of other jobs including telemarketing, retail service, supervising a bakery, and as a travel assistant at LAX and a housekeeper.

But her goal was to work in education, especially with teenagers.

“I feel really lucky to be here,” Ms. Silva said.

Working while also being a fulltime college student taught her to fight for herself, Ms. Silva said.

“When you both work and go to school at the same time,” said Ms. Silva, “you’re doing things that are very contradictory, because studying requires you to sit down and concentrate, and work has you on the go.

“You have to learn how to balance it and make sacrifices for the greater good.”

Ms. Ohana, meanwhile, who has taken on the additional role as development associate, said her new location on the back hallway near Registrar Ms. Lili Einalhori would help her concentrate more on her work. 

Her old spot by the front door seems perfect for Ms. Silva. In addition getting to know the faculty and student body, she aims to become the most reliable person she can be — an ideal derived from something she learned back in South L.A. 

“My mother has a great saying: when you are working anywhere, always be the most dependable person in the room, and always try to be the one person that everybody needs at that moment in time,” Ms. Silva said.

She said her mother and father, both immigrants from Mexico, always inspired her.

“My parents worked really hard to embody the ethic of always being the most on top of things,” she said, “and I’m excited to take their philosophy to the next level here.

“I want to be able to test myself and see how far I can go, and how far I can take things and how much i can get people to depend and rely on me.”