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Inn Dwelling Senior Is Awarded the Prestigious QuestBridge Scholarship!
“I finally felt that I could breathe and so could my parents, because they wouldn’t have to give a single penny (for me to attend college). Tomas breathed a sigh of relief and joy in December when he found out that he was awarded a full scholarship to the University of Chicago through the QuestBridge National College Match Scholarship program!! Read more about Tomas's scholarship award here .
Inn Dwelling Impact Conversation with New Chief Academic Officer一Charles Arroyave
Please tell me about yourself. Did you grow up here in Germantown? I moved a good amount growing up. I was born in Los Angeles and have lived in Richmond, Texas and the infamous Waco Texas. I moved to Philadelphia at the age of 12 and have lived here ever since.
How and when did you first learn about Inn Dwelling? While in high school, I met Sister Rosemarie through a High School initiative that she was running. She then began the Academic program, and I was part of the first cohort.
What was your experience like as an Inn Dwelling student back in the early days? It was similar to the experience of our present-day students. While I received support in my academic subjects, what was life changing for me was the fact that Sister Rosemarie was the 1st person to hold me accountable academically and would not accept minimal effort.
How big was your class? I believe there were four or five of us.
Do you all still stay in touch? I am still in touch with Lauren, from our class together, and we are good friends.
How have you seen the CYI Program grow over the years? The sheer number of students and school partnerships have grown exponentially. One of the major shifts I have experienced is the shared expectation of excellence. When Sister first started, she needed to convince students and parents that it was possible for them to become scholars, and as scholars, college would then become a possibility. We now have enough success stories and these examples of academic excellence have raised the bar for all people involved.
Two more major changes are the extension of the Sophia program at both Holy Cross and now at Blessed Trinity Regional School have allowed for students to become accustomed to the rigor and expectations of a prep school environment at a younger age, thus equipping them better to transition successfully to the Prep High Schools.
Are there any current teachers who were your instructors then? Mr. Creamer was our first Math teacher and he is still currently teaching our High School students.
Please tell me about your educational journey after Inn Dwelling. After Inn Dwelling, I obtained my undergraduate and graduate degree from Chestnut Hill College. I truly benefited from the small classroom size while there.
What was your vocational path? What made you pursue a career in education? I was influenced by great educators throughout my educational experiences and I have also always loved working with children. The single most influential factor in me becoming an educator was the mentorship that I received from Sister Rosemarie. She was the 1st person that realized my aptitude for Math, my skill in working with children, and after transitioning to a successful career as a teacher, she identified my leadership potential and encouraged me to go back to school for my degree in Educational Leadership.
Please tell me about how you came to join the teaching staff for Inn Dwelling Sophia students. Did you feel like everything came full circle for you as you assumed a teaching role after being a former student? I have always believed wholeheartedly in the mission of Inn Dwelling and the generational impact it has on underrepresented communities. I am extremely proud of the work that we did together while running the Sophia Program at Holy Cross. While at Holy Cross, I was identified as a leader and while in my position as director of the Sophia program, I was able to obtain my graduate degree and I was promoted to Assistant Principal and eventually Principal at St. Rose of Lima school in West Philadelphia.
How have you and Sister Rosemarie worked together over the years? Sister Rosemarie and I have worked very closely in the past and most importantly, we have a shared vision for the Inn Dwelling program and more importantly the unlimited potential of the students in the program.
Please tell me what you felt when Sister Rosemarie asked you to succeed her as the Program Director. I was honored to be asked by my mentor to take the baton and continue the work. At first, I was hesitant to accept the offer, as I was extremely comfortable and confident in leading a school of 250 students. Ultimately, I could not resist the opportunity to meaningfully impact the future of our Inn Dwelling scholars.
Please tell me about your educational leadership experience as a school principal. Do you feel that leadership experience prepared you for this current Chief Academic Officer role? I believe that my experience as a school leader has truly prepared me for this role. I have experience working with a school board, working in partnership with parents, and substantially improving standardized test scores.
What are your short and long-term goals for the CYI Program? My goals for the CYI program is to continue to expand the amount of students that we are able to support academically and at the same time continue to strengthen and possibly expand the High School and University relationships.
Please tell me about your family, and how you have passed on the Inn Dwelling legacy. I am married to my beautiful wife of 12 years, Jocelyn who has been extremely supportive over the years of Inn Dwelling and the impactful work that we do. We share in the raising of our three children, Tatiana, Carlos, and Antonio. We enjoy raising them and instilling the extremely important values of having a strong work ethic, always trying your best, and giving back to your community.
What would you like to share with current students who are where you once were? What is your advice for them? I would like to continue to remind them of their promising future that will continue to be shaped by the decisions they make and opportunities they take right now. Continue to maximize your opportunities, work hard, and everything else will take care of itself.
What would you like to share with our partners and other Inn Dwelling community members? Most importantly, I would like to thank them for their support of our program. It is truly a life changing program for our students. We will continue to be faithful stewards of the financial investments they make to our program. I am excited about the future of the Inn Dwelling program, and look forward to sharing in the success of our students!
2018 Inn Dwelling graduate Christina A. discusses how systemic issues affected her education as a student of color and how she now sees our program's impact through the eyes of an alum.
Inn Dwelling's announces details for our 2018 Annual Celebration.
2018 Sophia Program graduate Mike G. speaks about the difference the Program has made in his life.
2014 Inn Dwelling alum Ricky graduates from Haverford College, talks about the biggest influences in his life, and shares his next steps.
Inn Dwelling is in the running to receive a $50,000 grant award.