Returning Angels: OLQA Alums in Action

December 25, 2015

Malik is a 2010 graduate of OLQA and the current administrative assistant for the After-School Program. When Malik started college in the fall, he needed a part-time job to help pay for his education. “My first thought was OLQA because I worked there as part of my service requirement for St. Raymond High School for Boys,” said Malik. For Malik, working at OLQA is like a crash course in management. “I’m currently taking business classes, so the experience of being an admin is extremely helpful. I’m getting a firsthand look into what it is like to manage a team, track and input data on excel, and build professional relationships.” St. Raymond is not the only high school that has the tradition of sending students to volunteer at OLQA. St. Jean Baptiste, an all girls high school in Manhattan, also sends many OLQA graduates back to volunteer in the office and help with the After-School program. “I love coming back to OLQA,” says 2014 alum, Jessica Jimenez. “I know a lot of the students, so it’s really fun to see how they grow up.” Jessica’s classmate and fellow OLQA alum, Amanda Hernandez, shares a different reason, “OLQA gave me so much; without this school and my teachers I wouldn’t have gotten into St. Jean. When I volunteer here, I know I’m giving back.”

This fall has been an incredible time for OLQA and our extended community. As many of you know, Pope Francis visited OLQA on September 25, 2015. The visit was part of his historic first tour to the United States. Needless to say, this was an unusual--yet exciting--start to the school year! At the same time we welcomed 296 students back to school we also welcomed media teams and broadcasting crews to campus.

The uniqueness of this beginning of the year aside, the school year started seamlessly. Our students, faculty, and staff were determined to share in the joy of this visit, while ensuring that the school year got off on the right foot. With the help of Partnership Superintendent Kathleen Porter-Magee, we rolled out a school culture plan that includes procedures and guidelines that make the school day run more smoothly. A familiar face that transitioned into a new role is middle school social studies teacher, Will Beller, who accepted the position of Academic Dean. As Academic Dean, Mr. Beller will provide instructional feedback to teachers and serve as another layer of support to our school team.  

Pope Francis’ visit was a blessing that will stay with us for years to come. Our students and staff were magnificent. This visit highlighted the beauty of Catholic education and the spirit of OLQA. At OLQA we seek to do well and to do good in all aspects of school life. We instill this calling within our students and are confident that our students will go on to lead extraordinary lives.

As we look toward 2015, we are grateful to have many partners in our mission to provide educational opportunity for the children of East Harlem. We are excited to share this year with you and look forward to seeing you soon.