Grace's story is part of our ONE GOAL | MANY DREAMS Fundraising Campaign. Your support sustains a full scholarship, academically rigorous college-prep high school for students from under-resourced communities, where barriers to student success are minimized.
“As soon as I was born, I wanted to draw” chuckled Grace Perez-Moncada. “It’s an integral part of who I am, a way for me to express my opinions, dreams and emotions, and a lens through which I view the world.” Noting that pencil and charcoal are her favorite medium because she loves the nuances of shading, she has recently become more interested in painting, thanks to the encouragement of Ms. Edwards, her Advance Placement Art teacher.
Having taken every art program available to her through the Dorchester Boys and Girls Club, one of the things that excited her about coming to Cristo Rey Boston was the opportunity to take art classes all four years. With her older sibling having graduated in 2018, and a younger sibling who just started as a first-year student, Cristo Rey Boston was an easy decision.
“Cristo Rey feels like a family, we have a lot of support, and know that the teachers really care about us.” Grace continued, “During Covid, the teachers were always checking in with us, wanted us to be ok emotionally, not just calling to make sure we got our work done.”
That support extends to the Corporate Work Study Program (CWSP) at Cristo Rey Boston. Her first CWSP job was with Bond Brothers, working with Deana Martin in the marketing department. Deana immediately recognized her artistic talent and put her to work creating visual content in a graphic design program. “Deana encouraged my talent and helped me get involved in an art program at MASS ART.”
Now at PCA, Inc, Deana recalls "I noticed Grace's outstanding drawing ability right away. She quickly was able to work in our graphic design programs and produce advertisements and promotional material as part of our team. Mentoring talented students like Grace is easy. I enjoyed working with her. She brought fresh ideas and a new perspective to our marketing projects."
During the pandemic, while many businesses could not host students in person, the CWSP office, recognizing her talent and enthusiasm, paired Grace with CRB’s Development office. Grace designed the art for notecards, the Annual Christmas card, and numerous other social media projects.
Now back to work in-person, she is delighted to be placed at Nickerson, a new CWSP partner specializing in Marketing and Public Relations. “The people at Nickerson are so nice, and they have me involved in many cool projects, including looking at the branding for a new client website. I am enjoying the opportunity to experience the commercial side of my creativity, and the way my designs can enhance communications.”
Currently a senior, Grace is considering what’s next. “I am thinking about making a living by selling my art. I come from a very entrepreneurial family, so having my own business is very enticing.” Ms. Edwards and Ms. Rateau, the Director of College Counseling, have been encouraging her to consider art or business school, to see where her creativity takes her and to know how to successfully navigate the entrepreneurial world.
Grace concludes, “I am a very determined and outspoken person; I know what I want and am able to articulate that to other people as well.” noted Grace. “I don’t like to stand still; I like to be out in the world. I am inspired by other artists I follow on social media to take risks, to push myself to be more creative and expressive. I am like my art: bold!