As a Dominican woman with a first name that means Butterfly in Greek and last name that is as French as the province of Champagne, I was destined with my bubbly personality to never sit still. I was born in the Dominican Republic, in a beautiful city called Santiago de los Caballeros. I came to the United States when I turned 17 years old with my siblings. My journey to learn a new language and culture began immediately in Newcomers High School. There, I created very fond memories and met wonderful people from all over the world. After high school, I left New York City to attend college in Upstate New York for the next 6 years. It was at SUNY Delhi where I met a handful of Dominicans and created a very tight knit group of friends. They know who they are…my Delhi Crew! I also pledged Phi Theta Chi (PTC) Sorority, Inc. which soon became my family away from home.
After my time at Delhi, I transferred to SUNY Binghamton where the main chapter of my organization was based. I further developed many more meaningful friendships with my sorority sisters and today some of my closest friends are Hermanas (Tiriquiiiiina!). I majored in Chemistry because initially I wanted to be a dentist. However, my junior year, I took a Spanish syntax and composition class and I fell in love even more with my native language, Spanish. I, then, changed my major to double major in Spanish Language, Cultures & Literature, and Latin American & Caribbean Areas Studies. Before graduating in 2006, I studied abroad during summer in Spain, Portugal and France. That’s when I got the travel bug. Since then, my passport and I have been unstoppable!
While in Spain, I received an email congratulating me on my acceptance into SUNY Albany to pursue a MA in Latin American Literature. They gave me a really great offer and so I quickly accepted. I really loved that campus and the city was much more accessible to home; a win-win situation! Because I was a Professor’s assistant in SUNY Binghamton, I had gained experience in the classroom. And due to this experience, Albany gave me the opportunity to teach at the university-level. A new and unique experience which I absolutely loved. In a million years, I would have never thought, I would be teaching Spanish.
When I returned to NYC, the Founder of PTC recommended me for a teaching position in an independent school. I gained really valuable experience and also really enjoyed teaching high school students. I took my enjoyment as a sign. That’s when I decided to become a certified teacher and applied to the Teaching Fellows Program. Out of over 8 thousand applicants, the program only accepted 750, of which less than 80 were for Spanish. After several arduous months of interviews and demo lessons, I got accepted! I attended PACE University for my MS in Secondary Education with a concentration in Spanish. Once we started the program, we had to find a job, but the Dept. of Education had a hiring freeze for Spanish teachers specifically. A month had already gone by and nothing. Although everyone was encouraged to change majors, I was determined to find a job within my field. Then one day, I receive a call from PACE High School. They contacted me for an interview. I was elated. When I went into the main office, one of my friends from the same program was coming out of the principal’s office from conducting her interview, then it was my turn. When I came out, there was another friend waiting outside. We just looked at each other wondering who would be the lucky one. The next day, BOOM! I got the job.
I could not have ended up in a better school than this. I am very fortunate to work with amazing colleagues. Many of whom today I call friends. 9 years later, here I am planning international educational tours for my students, running various student organizations, and planning school-wide events. At one point wanted to pursue an administration degree, but realized that is not my calling. I like direct contact with the student population and want to be involve in areas where I can make an impact. Who knows where the wind will take this butterfly! I am colorful and definitely open-minded.