Health Careers & Science Community School Grads Tell Their Stories

By Teresa Santiago

Former students of the High School for Health Careers and Science Community School at the George Washington Campus in Washington Heights proudly participated in a promotional video for the school to tell their success stories. They wanted to dispel the notion that the high school and the neighborhood it is located in have a negative reputation.

Tatiana Soto, Gustavo Diaz & Aissatou Barry

Gustavo Diaz, 18, a freshman at the College of St. Rose in Albany, New York, majoring in media and communications, credits his acceptance into the private Catholic college and his $19,000 annual scholarship to the assistance and commitment of the counselors and advisors at the school. 

“As a participant of the Catholic Charities Alianza Youth Services In-School Youth program, I was exposed to so many opportunities. I was on the rowing team, student council, music club, and there was always someone to talk to about any issues I had.  They kept me focused,” said Mr. Diaz.  “I wanted potential students to know about the great opportunities available to them at this high school and not to listen to the negative things being said about the school and the education being provided.” “I learned to think positive at all times and not let negativity drag me down,” concluded Diaz. 

“I had a great education at the High School for Health Careers and Sciences, said Aissatou Barry, 17, a freshman at Hostos Community College in the Bronx, majoring in radiology.  “I took advantage of every single program available to me, from SAT prep classes, to overnight trips to several colleges to volunteering at food pantries, leading food drives for the less fortunate and cleaning up Van Cortlandt Park.  My high school experience showed me that the sky is the limit,” added Ms. Barry.  “If I would have listened to the talk on the street about the school, I would have missed out. 

Tatiana Soto, 19, a sophomore at the State University of New York, (SUNY) in Stonybrook, majoring in clinical lab science states that friends were surprised to hear that she was attending the HS for Health and Sciences because of the “bad rap” it had.  But Tatiana recalls that her experience at the high school was extremely positive and life changing.

“I adored and really enjoyed my participation in the In-School Youth Program of Catholic Charities.  It allowed me to get out of my comfort zone, to believe in myself.  I was terribly shy.  I visited places I had never been before, they were my second family,” said Ms. Soto. “Many times you come across people that want to discourage you and tell you, you won’t get into college.  I wanted to let students know that I took advantage of the programs available to me and that everyone needs a support system and that Catholic Charities In-School Youth and the community school programs were mine,” concluded Soto.

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