Perla Figuereo is a member of Cristo Rey New York High School’s Class of 2017. She was featured in Cristo Rey New York’s 2016 Annual Report discussing the ways she has taken full advantage of her Cristo Rey education.
Tell us about your Corporate Work Study Experience. I’ve worked for J.P. Morgan Chase since I was a freshman. It gives me a sense of maturity and motivation because I am surrounded by young professionals who serve as role models for what I can become once I graduate from college.
What skills have you obtained through your job? At first I never took initiative. I was content with not having much to do. But then I became motivated by my environment and decided to make the best of my time there. I’ve also developed better communication skills. Not only am I more willing to start a conversation with an adult, but I’ve also made more of an effort to better my English and interact more.
What challenges have you faced at your job? Being that I am from the Dominican Republic and go to school in Spanish Harlem, it has been a challenge to be in an environment that is so different then what I am used to. Working at my job is the first time that I’ve felt like a minority. I am different in race and in age, but have learned to embrace it by finding adults who can relate to me. By getting to know their story, I am more open to being myself around people who are different than me.
How has Cristo Rey prepared you for college? Cristo Rey has made college possible for me. As a young girl in the Dominican Republic, I never even imagined myself even applying to college. I know that if it wasn’t for CRNYHS, the idea of college would not even exist for me. Cristo Rey has not only given me access to college, it’s given me the right tools to get into some of the best schools.
What is the most important reward you expect to gain from Cristo Rey? Cristo Rey has transformed me into a young adult. Everything about me has matured from the way I think, to the way I speak. I know that through my time here, I will become a well-rounded professional in the future and will always think back to the tools CRNYHS has given me.