Cristo Rey Boston High School

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Michael Melo: "Independence is everything to me."

"You have power over your mind – not outside events. Realize this, and you will find strength."
Marcus Aurelius. 
Michael Melo"Independence is everything to me. Being able to rely on my talents and have full agency in my life is incredibly important," stated Michael Melo, a quiet, introspective senior about to embark on an exciting new chapter in his life. 
After applying early and being accepted, Michael has committed to a spot in the inaugural class of Messina College at Boston College. One of 100 students accepted into the unique program, he is excited for his educational journey to continue. Messina College is a two-year program offered at Boston College focused exclusively on the needs of first-generation students. It offers a two-year associate degree with the option to move into a bachelor's program or career. 
Micheal recalled the day Messina representatives visited the Cristo Rey campus last year. He noted, "I got attached to the idea of attending. I immediately knew it was a place where I could flourish and find the success I seek. I have confidence that it's an excellent fit for me, and I am excited to be part of this new program at Boston College.  
Micheal revealed that he is anxious about the future but quiets that anxiety by reflecting on how far he has already traveled. Michael lived in Dorchester with his older sister and mom growing up. Life had challenges, including financial pressures. He recalls, "From an early age, I worked to help support my family, but because I was so young, I didn't feel like people understood how serious I was about work." 
As an 8th grader, Michael's mom passed away, plunging him temporarily into the world of social services agencies while his sister went through the approval process to become his guardian. It was difficult, and he lost all sense of agency while others decided his fate. Michael reflects, "It was a defining moment, and I initially lost my sense of direction. It fuels my drive to build a stable future where I am completely independent and fully in control of my destiny." 
Michael discovered Cristo Rey Boston High School (CRB) during this period of upheaval. Initially enrolled in a large city high school, he struggled to find footing. His sister's friend, a graduate of CRB, suggested transferring, knowing he would find the community he needed.   
Michael recalled, "Moving to CRB midway through my freshman year was the right choice. I created relationships with teachers and staff and found a community of people vested in my success and well-being." He noted that he values the opportunities that have set him on a path to success and enabled him to create goals like attending college. He continued, "Attending Cristo Rey Boston and participating in the Corporate Work Study program have allowed me to grow emotionally and socially." 
As a member of the student government, Michael appreciates his time at Cristo Rey Boston. His advice to incoming first-year students is to be genuine. He notes that believing that creating an impact will result in good happening is essential. 
Michael has worked at the Museum of Science for his work-study placement since his junior year. He loves interacting with visitors and the staff. He noted, "Working at the Museum of Science has made a difference in building my confidence. They taught me to think critically about our exhibits' content and trust in my ability to interact effectively with visitors." 
Looking ahead, Michael is excited to implement his dream plan of becoming a therapist or social worker. "I have a desire to help people, to make an impact on the lives of others," he commented. Like many CRB students, Michael has an outside job besides his work-study placement. He works at Massachusetts General Hospital, delivering food to patients. He noted, "Working there has given me a new perspective, and I've learned so much. When people feel isolated and displaced, it takes a toll. I hope my career leads me to a place where I can help others."