Kaira Batiz is a 9th grade student at NYC iSchool in Manhattan. She is an alumna of Citizen Schools New York and was recently featured in a blog post announcing our new partnership with The Opportunity Network. Kaira has been accepted to the highly competitive OppNet Prep program, which will carry her throughout high school and into college. Here's what she had to say about Citizen Schools and her future... When I first heard that my middle school was extending the school day to 6:00 p.m. I honestly wasn't up for it. But after a couple of weeks the teachers in the program made me realize, it wasn't a bad idea after all! I was getting used to the program and I was really enjoying myself. Now I can really say the experience was amazing.
One thing I love about Citizen Schools is the exposure. They exposed me to my education by making me realize the importance of my education. The teachers had us think about college, which for me was really weird because I never really thought about college until then. I was never thinking about what career I wanted to focus on either because I was living in an environment where not lot of students thought about future careers until it was too late to think about them.
They made me realize that everything is possible even if you come from a rough neighborhood. I think one of the reasons why my school teachers and Citizen Schools teachers bonded so well was because they really thought about the students and their future. I feel like I was so fortunate to have them in my life. They were constantly there for me and worried about what I was doing in my life. I am grateful for the time, patience and dedication they gave not only me, but all the students at Global Technology Preparatory Middle School (GTP).
Before I graduated from GTP they exposed all the 8th grade students to a program called OppNet Prep. They thought that we should apply to the program so they brought a representative from the program to explain what it was about. I knew then and there that I wanted to be a part of this amazing opportunity.
Citizen Schools encouraged me to go for it and so I did. When I applied for OppNet Prep online I wrote about my life, my school, and how even though I didn't know what career I wanted to focus on, I was willing to participate and put as much effort into the program as I could. Even if I didn't get in, I would have been glad that I at least tried.
Now I am attending NYC iSchool. Even though I don't get to see the Citizen Schools teachers often I still come around to visit. And, after the effort of trying to get in to OppNet Prep, I got in! I was so happy when I found out I got in, there was this feeling of achievement and I was so proud of myself. I thank Citizen Schools so much because they were there to encourage me.
That's something you don’t experience often, a community of people that are here for you and care about your future. I am so excited for this new opportunity because I'm finally going to see and talk to people that work in so many careers. I know that after all the trouble I've been going through to figure out what career I want to be a part of, I'll have a chance to really answer that question with a network of people that I'm sure will be pushing me. I can't wait to be exposed and learn!