A School Built on Pride and Equality


by Rosemary Clinton, Senior, Dr. Pedro Albizu Campos Puerto Rican High School

(On Monday, November 3rd, special guests State Representative Greg Harris and State Representative Cynthia Soto visited our school to learn more about a special program that we have in place to support our students. Also in attendance were Jack Wuest, Executive Director of Alternative Schools Network (ASN), Marvin Garcia, President of our school’s Board of Directors, Martrice Manuel, Program Director of ASN, and Juan Calderon from the Puerto Rican Cultural Center. Following is the address given by Rosemary Clinton, one of our seniors, who spoke to the guests.)

When I think of Dr. Pedro Albizu Campos High School, I think of more than just your everyday school. I think of hope, a second chance, and opportunities beyond your wildest dreams. I think of a school built on pride and equality, where we’re not just peers, but family. How many people can honestly wake-up to be greeted on a first-name basis by their Principal,  to feel as if, after everyone gave up on you, people you had just met picked up the pieces to help you succeed?

I stand here today to explain to you how amazing my school really is. With After School programs for EVERY subject, with teachers gladly waiting to help you, pushing you everyday to go a little bit farther and to never settle — because you can achieve so much more. Dr. Campos High School wants nothing but for us to succeed. For example, this past summer I was sitting at home doing nothing. Out of the blue, Judy called (Judy Diaz-Rodriguez is our Dean of Students) asking me what I had been doing.  I explained to her my situation and how I had no summer job. Within a week Judy had set me up with a summer job working more than 30 hours every week. I worked at a doctor’s office where I gained experience working in the medical field. The experience gave me groundbreaking background knowledge on what the life of a doctor is really like. Not many teenagers my age are awarded this opportunity. For me to have the advantage of partaking in this was a blessing. So, when I think of my school, I can’t help but be grateful for the opportunity to be blessed with such amazing people in my life.

When I walk across the stage, I know I will have all the tools I need to be successful. Without Dr. Campos High School, I would probably just be another DCFS statistic, an African-American high school drop-out. But today I stand before you as a Senior, graduating early from high school, an Abayarde Scholar, a 17 year-old girl accepted into two colleges with many more to come. After June 6th, I will be an undergraduate student with a Major in Business and a Minor in Accounting, going for my Master’s Degree. I’ll owe it all To Dr. Pedro Albizu Campos High School and staff.