20 Grads: A’s in Academics, Athletics, and the Arts

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.

Interdistrict School for Arts and Communication (ISAAC) 8th grader Taina Quiñones looks forward to going to college in a place where she can play softball year round, a career someday where she can work with kids, and may even go on to own a company or organization that helps empower young women.

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It’s a big set of goals but because of her hard work in school, supportive teachers, and a mom who serves as a role model, there’s no doubt she’ll do big things.

Taina is already a leader at school, having served as student body president after winning against three other students.

And while that is up there as a proud moment, Taina says her biggest academic accomplishment was receiving a four-year scholarship to St. Bernard School, a Catholic college prep high school that she’ll be attending in the fall.

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Taina has a great foundation to build on and said she has had a great experience at her charter school. She said her favorite teacher is Ms. Taylor from 7th grade Language Arts.

“Last year was an awkward year for me but Ms. Taylor understood me. She has always been an easy person to talk to.”

It’s not just the academics that Taina said she appreciates about ISAAC.

“My school is a family to me—without each other we couldn’t accomplish as much. And I know that if I wasn’t in this school, I’d be in a traditional school which wasn’t a good fit for me. Some of what I do is speak out about ISAAC and all the good this school is doing.”

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When asked what advice she would you give to younger students she said: “Be yourself, even if that sounds cliché. That’s how you find your true friends and family here.”

Toward the end of our interview Taina’s mom, Liz Quiñones couldn’t resist saying a couple of things about her daughter: “She has blossomed into this amazing person. I don’t dictate everything she does or says, I am just there to pick her up. I struggled myself. I was a teen mom. I took my kids out of the ‘hood’ and made sure they go to school and could be the best versions of themselves. My husband is wonderful, too. It’s a team effort. We’re so proud.”

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Jessica is the Communications Director for the Northeast Charter Schools Network. She shares the charter school message and the stories of the real people who are a part of the movement with the press, member schools, parents, and the public.
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20 Grads: A’s in Academics, Athletics, and the Arts
20 Grads: A’s in Academics, Athletics, and the Arts
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