Campaign for Catholic Schools alumni testimonials

Following are the prepared remarks delivered by alumni of Trinity Catholic Academy and Pope St. John Paul II Catholic Academy, who spoke about the impact of their Catholic education at the Campaign for Catholic Schools' 15th anniversary celebration.

John Gabelus

Two of the greatest gifts I received from Catholic education are understanding the power of prayer and discernment. It guides everything I do in my life. After earning a degree in Theology at Boston College, I worked with students who, like me, were the first in their families ever to go to college. I continued this work in different philanthropic organizations, including the Yawkey Foundation, upon completing my master's degree at BC. My passion in life is to help those in need and leave my community better than I found it. Thank you for helping me as a young student and setting me on a path that allows me now to help others.

Isis Whitney

I love to sing classical music with the Handel and Haydn Society. I am doing just great now, but back in seventh grade, I really struggled. I was tardy more than 90 times, and I was absent a lot. Let's just say it was a bad year. But my teachers did not give up on me; they helped to instill a stronger sense of confidence in me, and I turned things around in eighth grade. My teachers at the academy also taught me at a young age about faith and that God is always with me. Always. I'm happy to say that now my lowest grade as a ninth grader at Fontbonne Academy is a 92. I'm a people person who loves to defend a good argument -- I just love to argue, so I hope to become a lawyer someday. Thank you for helping me find the faith and confidence that continues to shape my life.

Bridget Crane

I am a proud product of a Catholic education, and I understand the difference it makes and how life-changing it can be. I was trained as a member of Boston College's Urban Catholic Teacher Corps before being placed at Trinity Catholic Academy. For our students, school is home. There is strength in the strong sense of community in our school. Students feel extremely comfortable, and families constantly help each other. No one feels this more right now than one of my students who, after being in three different schools in the last three years, now feels safe. He is now known. He is now loved. And he will be called to excellence. Thank you for providing an education where students know their teachers are always there for them so that they can become who God is calling them to be.

Samuel Cintra

I was 11 years old when my family came to Dorchester from Cuba. I arrived here unable to speak a word of English, and I often found myself in the principal's office for acting out in class. But, my principal and teachers saw a life for me that I could not see for myself at that time. They gave me a vision, a vision for a better future. I went on to be the valedictorian of my Cathedral High School class. I later received a full scholarship to Denison University as a pre-medical student. I am also learning about real estate so that I can buy a home for my family. Thank you for helping me realize dreams I never would have known were possible.

Kate Brandley

I'm the regional director of the three campuses that make up St. John Paul II Catholic Academy. I think I speak for many on my and Trinity Catholic's staff when I say that I feel God called me to the work I do -- work that I feel has real meaning. What I see taking place day to day on all our campuses does not start with the lesson plan. It starts with the love of our students. Loving our kids always comes first. When you start with love -- and genuine concern -- then we can help our students learn more and achieve more both academically and personally in a way that allows them to become the best versions of themselves. There may be bumps along the road, but there is also great joy...and there is hope. Thank you for helping us unlock the potential within our students and changing the trajectory of their lives.

Emily DaSilva

My story actually begins with my dad. My father worked as a janitor in a Catholic school, and he promised me that someday I would actually be able to attend a Catholic school. He worked very hard to make that dream come true for me. A few years ago, I enrolled as a sixth grader at Trinity Catholic Academy in Brockton. The individual attention I received there helped me to excel as a student. English and poetry became my favorite subjects, and my faith grew much stronger as a member of the Liturgical choir. Trinity helped me to really move out of my comfort zone and grow. I entered Cardinal Spellman High School, where I now take AP classes, and I'm a peer mentor. Through my work on a recent service trip with school, I realized that someday, I would like to work with disabled people who have communication disorders. Thank you for helping my dad and me realize our dream and creating a pathway that has changed my life.