MSMHS Grad Ready for the Next Challenge

From First Generation Student to Full Scholarship: A Magnet School Success Story
Posted on 06/15/2018
Kenia Cruz, Dr. Spera, Kate Ericson

“Because of this school, because of the support, because of the people I have, I know that I can achieve more, I know that the impossible is possible.”  - Kenia Cruz, MSMHS Class of 2018

Kenia Cruz, a proud member of the Marine Science Magnet High School Class of 2018, has made a steady habit of beating the odds and overcoming challenges. With her high school graduation at hand, her next academic challenge will bring her to one of the country’s finest liberal arts colleges.

On Thursday, June 14, Kenia told her story to the LEARN Board of Directors and other guests to the RESC’s year-end meeting. As a first generation, Latina, low-income student, she explained that the statistics aren’t in her favor: 85 percent of low-income Latinas don’t meet the state standard testing scores. Moreover, her mother is an undocumented immigrant from El Salvador who works two jobs to support her family, all while the threat of deportation looms.

“I was angry, in part because the odds were against me, but in the end it was motivating,” Kenia said. “I was breaking the odds, I had this ability, I was doing something, and now I am going to go do it.”

Kenia believes in the power and mission of magnet schools. At MSMHS, she found an equal opportunity with her peers.

“Magnet schools really do provide support, service and the resources that they say they do,” Kenia said. “Without them, I wouldn’t be where I am today. I wouldn’t believe that I have the ability to apply to the number one liberal arts college in America and have a full scholarship to go there.”

Kenia will be continuing her education at Williams College in Massachusetts. As she alluded to in her speech, U.S. News and World Report just named the best liberal arts school in the country for 2018. While she is there, she plans to double major in American studies and political science. She attributes her success to the support that she received from MSMHS.

“Because of this school, because of the support, because of the people I have, I know that I can achieve more, I know that the impossible is possible.”

The Day of New London recently wrote a feature on Kenia. Find it here.

Story by Gabrielle Coburn

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