Cristo Rey Boston High School

News & Features » Elena Ramos: "Never Say Never."

Elena Ramos: "Never Say Never."

During her final days as Assistant Dean of Student Life at Cristo Rey Boston, Elena Ramos had much to share with current students, starting with never say never! Elena laughed, "18-year-old Elena was never coming back to CRB; I couldn't get out of here fast enough!"  
However, the 2018 Cristo Rey Boston graduate had just finished her degree at the University of Dayton in the spring of 2022 and had a prestigious Fulbright Scholarship to teach English as a Second Language to college students in São Luiz, Brazil. One snag, the Brazilian school year started in March of 2023, and she needed a job now. With a degree in International Relations and a concentration in International Education, accepting a position at CRB for the interim period was a smart career move.  
"Honestly, it just made perfect sense," Elena noted. "I had a chance to work with a seasoned administrative team and tackle the leadership challenge. I was fortunate to work for a great mentor with whom I developed a strong connection." She also laughs about stepping into a disciplinarian role at CRB, noting that she was always the kid pushing the limits in high school. It was that background that she felt made her effective.  
"When I see a student struggling, I know it is not always about what is happening in the classroom. Students bring a wealth of issues to school from outside life. It is not always easy to push those issues aside." Elena's goal is to help students put those issues into perspective and stay focused on the bigger picture of academic achievement and college success.  
"My pivotal moment came early in middle school. I did not recognize it as such in the moment, but I understand the importance of it now," Elena recalled. By her own account, she was an angry, defiant student with a bad attitude and grades that reflected poor choices. "I was placed in a school-to-prison pipeline rehabilitation program offered by the local police, where I learned about making better choices. The program's culmination was a visit to jail, where I met a female inmate who warned me to turn things around unless I wanted to end up like her." 
Elena continued, "I remember crying and being so scared, but it shaped my thinking as I moved forward in school. I had a lot to be angry about; my life was hard from 7 to 17, but I realized getting involved with a lot of drama was not the solution." 
An invitation to visit Cristo Rey Boston from a CRB admissions director provided the perfect opportunity to skip classes at the Timilty Middle School. However, once inside the campus, she shifted her perspective on choosing a high school, finding a building filled with color, art, areas for students to assemble, and welcoming staff. She understood she was strong and projected a confident demeanor on the outside, but recognized she was scared and uncertain about her future on the inside. Citing the help of teachers and counselors at CRB, Elena set her sights on college as a path forward and ultimately thrived at CRB. 
Fast forward to the University of Dayton. The Class of 2018 was the second cohort of students offered an opportunity to compete for a Dayton Flyer Promise Scholarship. After hearing so many good things about Dayton from a teacher, Elena concluded, "Why not." That decision changed everything.  
She traveled to Dayton with the other potential recipients and fell in love. She recalled, "We arrived during the Christmas season, and the school hosted a community program. I attended a multi-cultural presentation and began to see myself as a student there." She laid it all on the line when she had her interview, knowing she wanted to attend and that it would be a transformative experience. Fortunately, she was awarded a full scholarship and is now a proud alum.  
"As a learner, I was open to the new experiences that the University of Dayton provided. Raised in a Hispanic/Caribbean community with minimal exposure to other cultures, Dayton allowed me to change my perspectives, to expand my worldview." She continued, "I see my Fulbright year as another opportunity to gain experience and expand my knowledge. I am both scared and excited for the next leg of my journey. The future after Brazil is unknown, but I am open to endless possibilities, understanding that opportunities unfold for those who work hard."  
She concluded with parting advice for Cristo Rey Boston students. "I know that you will appreciate CRB after graduation, that you are well supported academically, and that the staff is committed to your success. Just try your hardest, do not give up on yourself, and you will be successful."