20 Grads in 20 Days: June marks a huge anniversary in Connecticut. Twenty years ago this month, Governor John Rowland signed the law allowing public charter schools to exist in the state of Connecticut! To celebrate, we’re profiling 20 public charter school graduates every day for the first 20 days of June. Enjoy reading about our charter schools and the stellar kids they're educating.
Today’s graduates give the distinct impression that they want to leave the world a better place than they found it.
And such is the case for Explorations Charter School senior Amber Sans. This 18 year-old from Torrington has been interested in working for Mercy Ships since she was in 7th grade. Mercy Ships are quite literally ships – and they’re filled with doctors, nurses and other medical professionals who travel to ports along Africa providing free medical and surgical care to those who need it.
“My dream job is to be a nurse so I can work on Mercy Ships. My friend in the 7th grade was born on the ship – her parents worked on it – and I have wanted to work for them ever since,” says Sans.
Because Sans worked so hard throughout high school, she is one step closer to fulfilling that goal. She received the Presidential Award scholarship to UConn –one of just two students in the school to receive it. The scholarship will provide her free tuition for four years so that she can study biology, chemistry, and everything else necessary to become a nurse.
Perhaps making Sans’ achievement even more striking is that she is busier than most high school students. Sans is a young mother. She gave birth to a son when she was a sophomore in school.
“I am a good student and a good self-learner, but I don’t know what I would do without my teachers and their help – especially because I have a son,” she says. “My English teacher has been helping me for the past three years. She helped me with college recommendation letters. My social studies teacher has been pushing me to work toward the scholarship.”
Sans also attributes her success to her parents who she says are particularly helpful when she needs a hand with her baby. She also calls her dad her role model and hero.
“He’s always at work, always trying to do the best her can. He’s a roofer—it is very hard work and I respect him for what he does to provide for his family,” Sans said.
We asked Sans more about what she has gotten from Explorations, and here are some of her answers:
“My favorite subject is English because I read books I would have read otherwise such as The Great Gatsby and The Color Purple. I really like them both and I wouldn’t have read them unless it was for my teachers.”
“I also like science. Our teacher made everything to come life. Like this is real life, this is how things work. It was really interesting.”
“My favorite school project was for social studies – we compared the top 100 Billboard songs from different eras, from the 50s to now. It’s interesting to see how much music and life has changed. I love ‘The Great Pretender’ from the 70s -- it has been stuck in my head ever since. I don’t normally tell people that! The music is just so relaxing.”
“Explorations Charter School means everything to me. These teachers are amazing and they go above and beyond– my English teacher Carrie taught me how to drive so I could get my license. I don’t know what I would be doing without them. This school means a lot. It makes me nervous when they talk about funding and how we never have enough... I want my sister to go here. I want other kids to have the opportunity I did.”
Sans’ advice to younger students: “Stick it out. Get up, do your work, you can end up with a scholarship to college and then you can do anything.”
On where she wants to be in 20 years: “Possibly on a Mercy Ship and then maybe South Carolina where the weather is great.”
On college this fall: “I am nervous but you gotta do what you gotta do. Overall, I am just happy. My plans are all finally coming together.”