“Reading Romeo and Juliet as part of my 9th grade English class has given me a different approach to problem solving” stated Deandra Spence, a vivacious freshman with a wide smile. She continued, “You must take your time to understand Shakespeare, it is complex. But when you slow down and really pull it apart, it is awesome, he has so much to say.” Deandra noted that she has applied this process to her other classes, taking the time to really think about the topic as part of her learning.
A talented artist, Deandra’s work has been featured in the 2021 Cristo Rey Boston Christmas Card and New Year’s Greeting. Torn between attending the Boston Art’s Academy and Cristo Rey Boston, Deandra chose Cristo Rey because of the work-study program. Deandra noted that “I was excited to participate in the Corporate Work Study Program because I felt the work experience would prepare me for when I get older.”
Due to Covid constraints, Deandra was initially placed on an internal work assignment with Ms. Cuomo, an Ignatian volunteer, creating a gallery walk of the unique artwork that lines the halls of the school. It was the perfect project for the art-loving Deandra, requiring her to research the various artists, and create a narrative for each piece of art. She currently has a new placement at St. John Paul ll in Neponset, working with the teachers in providing classroom support.
Deandra reported that she is motivated by her family. Her parents immigrated from Jamaica, and highly value education. She noted that “I would like to make them proud and attend college on a full scholarship. My older brother and dad both have their college degrees, and I would like to follow in their path.”
With her household full of joy – her older brother coming home to visit often and her two little nephews bringing laughter and happy chaos to the home during their regular visits, Deandra reported her biggest challenge is finding a balance between all the things she loves. Deandra noted, “I like to move, and am always busy with my family and friends, playing volleyball at Cristo Rey and taking Tae Kwon Do classes.”
“There is so much I am passionate about” she continued “I am deeply concerned about issues like racism, homelessness, drug addiction and climate change, and not sure where these passions will lead me. Ultimately, I want to better my community and the world.”
Deandra commented that the Cristo Rey experience has been wonderful so far. “It is a great school, the curriculum is interesting, I love the diversity among the students who attend, and the teachers are so helpful. But most of all, I love the ability to have real work experience.” She continued, “I like being prepared, and Cristo Rey really helps with that. Once you have a taste of what you want in life, you will be able to excel in the future.”