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How PA Alumni Make a Difference

 

Carlos Sanchez 

University of Southern California

"For me, PA established the base that if you try hard enough, things can happen.  The school fostered that really well and I am more than thankful for that, if it wasn't for the amazing people at PA, I wouldn't be where I am now."

Always passionate about math and science, Carlos excelled at PA in advanced math groups and the Great Thinkers program.  He went on to graduate from The Breck School and is currently pursuing his degree in Aeronautical Engineering to one day work at NASA.  Carlos says he is proud to be living his childhood dream of actually becoming a rocket scientist, and he believes that PA taught him to stand up for himself even when others did not believe he could do it: "At Breck I had a college counselor who really tried to discourage me from taking advanced math classes, but I really stood up for myself because I knew I could do it.  Watch for Carlos to be a chief engineer of propulsions at NASA or, he concedes, maybe opening a bakery some day if he can retire early.

 

 

Jordy Chavez Estrada

St. Thomas University

"PA taught me to stay creative.  It was really fluid - teachers and staff were always experimenting with things, and the constant exposure to different things made things a lot more interesting for me, since I liked not knowing what came next.  We would be learning volume with water and Kool Aid or the next day we would be outside learning something unexpected.  It's a lot more interactive at PA, and you know that the administration really cares for you, they know your name, they will always push you forward if you are falling behind or if you have emotional stress, there is a very human aspect, loving aspect that allowed me to succeed.  I learned that you shouldn't treat anyone different than yourself - the Honor Code was super important to me as a foundation.  It makes you be really human, it really taught me a lot.  The camaraderie between everyone in the grade was really important...for the most part everyone got along."

As a fifth grader, Jordy stood before his classmates in the cafeteria and delivered his first political speech, winning a seat on the PA Student Council in a school-wide election.  Since then, Jordy is no stranger to student leadership, becoming president at Richfield High School and now sophomore class president at the University of St. Thomas.  He says, however, that his interest in leadership is much more than wanting status, rather he loves these positions to include everyone and ensure everyone has a voice.  Jordy credits important male mentors from PA, the moral lessons he learned from the Honor Code, and the solidarity he felt with PA staff and students with launching him into leadership.  Although Jordy can foresee a wide range of career possibilities, he is sure of a few things - he wants to help people in whatever vocation he chooses and he will continue to come back and volunteer at PA long into the future.  

 

Virginia Cuate Vergara

St. Catherine University

"I liked how close I was to all of my classmates - because they were small classes, I got to know everyone well and I didn't want to leave when I graduated from 6th grade.  You don't know how good you have it until you leave.  It is different in other schools.  Here they worry about you and the teachers actually care about what you're learning, in other schools it's not like that.  I really appreciated all the time I spent here and the teachers I got to have."

By the time Virginia graduated 6th grade at PA, she was virtually unrecognizable from the shy kindergartener she had been when she entered.  Confident, accomplished, and kind, Virginia went on to academic and social success, earning a scholarship to St. Catherine's University.  Now Virginia works summers in PA's main office, and her old teachers like to playfully remind her of those long-ago tears.  Looking back, Virginia recognizes so much growth in herself as well, growing in confidence and bilingual abilities. "My communication skills have been really broadened," she shared.  In the future, Virginia hopes to have an even bigger role at PA because she loves the people and community of the school.