Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Student Spotlight: Joshua Vera

Joshua Vera, 7th grader at Oscar Mayer Magnet, is in his first year here at Cabrini Connections. However, he’s been benefiting from a mentoring relationship with George Matyas since he was in 4th grade. They were matched up as mentor/mentee at our sister program, Cabrini Green Tutoring Program, where they worked together for 3 years until graduating into our program here at Cabrini Connections. Joshua is a good fit with our program, as he strives to make himself well-rounded and achieve his goals with the help of his mentor, George.

One of Joshua’s favorite things to do is play basketball, which he has been doing since as early as he can remember. In fact, he plays center and power forward on the 7th grade team at his school and is planning to play basketball in high school and hopefully college. Speaking of high school, because Joshua lives on the south side and doesn’t want to attend his low-achieving neighborhood high school, he is driven to gain acceptance into one of Chicago’s elite public schools, Whitney Young or Lincoln Park High School, so that he can develop skills and knowledge in an engaging environment that will adequately prepare him for the challenges ahead.

Besides basketball, Joshua also plays the drums and enjoys art. He enjoys making collages, painting pictures and writing poems in his various classes and clubs. He also has a passion for technology, spurred by the fact that every child in his school has access to their own laptop computer, which they can take home to work on projects and assignments. Joshua appreciates the impact that technology has had on our lives and often thinks that he might want to pursue something in a technology related field as an eventual career. Though he’s only in the 7th grade, he’s already thinking that he might want to open up his own business some day, perhaps his own line of athletic apparel uniquely tailored to the needs of certain types of athletes. Luckily he’s got plenty of time to get his business plan together!

It’s inspiring to hear Joshua talk about how he is happy to be involved with Cabrini Connections. For him Cabrini Connections is “a way to help me with my schoolwork and to get good grades,” while it also “helps me develop skills.” Congratulations Joshua! We’re glad you’re with us and excited to help you on your path to success!

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