When Mayra immigrated with her mother to the United States from Peru 12 years ago she could only speak Spanish. “But within a few months”, her mother Sara said, “Mayra was working hard to learn English and doing well in school”.
Mayra did so well at Mary Help of Christian’s Academy that she was recently awarded a scholarship to attend UCLA as a pre-med major. She discovered her calling is to become an oncologist after both grandparents died of cancer and she had the opportunity to intern in the Healthcare Connections enrichment program. “The program isn’t solely focused on studies but also the personal aspects of health care. I feel the profession of oncology could completely fulfill me.”
“We try to provide an environment where students rise to academic success and are introduced to a variety of enriching programs and activities that give them a taste of future professions,” said Dominic Stimola, Vice Principal at Mary Help of Christians Academy. Another experience was The March Leadership Retreat in Stony Point, New York that Mayra said was a turning point in her life. “I learned a lot about faith and guidance. It was empowering” said Mayra. “This was a great investment by Tri-County” says Stimola about Mayra’s scholarships, “Mayra is very much a leader.”
Mayra said her proudest achievement is being awarded her school’s prestigious Letterman Award for contributing the most hours to a range of school activities that benefit her school. “I’m so happy that I could bring it back to my school community…I couldn’t have done it without Mr. Stimola, my mother, Tri-County, and my teachers. I owe it all to them. They all helped shape me into the person I am.”
Allison knows the value of having a great mentor. Her older sister, a Mary Help of Christians Academy alumni and a recent college grad now embarking on a successful career in business, was Allison’s guide in high school. “She became my role model”, says Allison, “she let me know what I needed to focus on. Even in my freshman year, the main thing was preparing for college.”
Allison took her sister’s advice to heart and invested the time to do well academically throughout her four years of high school. She received a junior MBA award, served as Secretary for Student Council, and did exceptionally well in each of her four honors courses as well as finding time to participate in dance club and year book.
Her big sister consistently mentored her, providing her with savvy advice and keeping her on track for success. “She told me when I had to start preparing for SATs and to research the colleges in depth.” This attention, along with Allison’s determination and drive has really paid off. She was accepted to all 15 colleges she applied to and has decided to attend Rutgers, New Brunswick on a full scholarship in the fall, with the intent of focusing on business and engineering.
Just as important for Allison and her family was the support provided by her school and Tri-County to help her gain values that will last a lifetime. “I’m very thankful to have all these people in my life to support me, including my sister and my mom. I especially want to say thank you to Tri-County and everyone who supports them” said Allison, “without their help I wouldn’t have been able to attend private school and be fully prepared for the next stepping stone in my life. I’m very lucky.”
We have no doubt that Allison and Mayra, like so many other alumni, will become accomplished adults who will eventually “pay it forward” to future Tri-County scholarship students.