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Amesbury Town Paper article....

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I am posting an article that appeared on the Amesbury Newspaper (http://www.townonline.com/amesbury/), wherein my daughter was interviewed for her experience as an Amesbury Highschool student.


Sacrifice yields success for grad

Kevin Doyle/
kdoyle@cnc.com Friday, June 2, 2006 - Updated: 11:53 AM EST

When school choice student Dominique Altarejos collects her diploma at tonight’s Amesbury High School graduation, it will mark the culmination of a family’s commitment to ensure that both Dominique and her older sister, 2005 graduate Karrol, met with success.
By the time Dominique was beginning her freshman year of high school, her parents, Sereynita and Domingo, had achieved their dream of owning a home. However, the family’s move from Amesbury to Haverhill didn’t come at the expense of the sisters, who both graduated among the Top 10 students in their respective classes.
"Before we moved, we lived in a condo but my parents had always wanted their own house and, by the time I was a freshman, we had moved to Haverhill," Altarejos said Tuesday afternoon.
Recognizing their comfort level in Amesbury, Altarejos’s parents provided Dominique and her sister with the opportunity to remain in the school system via school choice.
"We liked the feel of the town, the fact that it was a small, close-knit community. Everyone knew each other and it felt like family in the school. Everyone was very welcoming. We were happy in Amesbury. Our parents gave us that choice to stay and I’m grateful that they did," said Altarejos.
With that opportunity came sacrifice, for everyone.
Since neither girl had a car, their parents drove them to school in the morning. As often as not, the sisters could be found in the library well into the early evening, studying as they waited for their parents to pick them up.
"They would be here early in the morning and I can’t tell you how many times I’d go by the library at 6 or 7 o’clock and there would be Dominique and her sister. I remember asking them once, ’You live right over the (Merrimac) line from me in Haverhill, do you want a ride?’ and they said ’No, our parents will be here’," said Principal Les Murray.
"It was a sacrifice for our parents. They’ve been very good to give us that choice. Sometimes we’d take the (Merrimack Valley Regional Transit) bus home and other times we’d be here really late, studying or at different meetings," Dominique said.
Dominique clearly made the most of her extra time spent at school. She was honored last week during a dinner at Ristorante Molise recognizing the Top 10 seniors. A member of the National Honor Society, Altarejos maintained a stellar grade point average - "I’m not quite sure, but better than 4.0" - while taking Advanced Placement and Honors courses.
She also played clarinet in the band, participated in the Peer Leaders program for four years, and worked on the literary magazine and yearbook staffs. This year she was rewarded with the prestigious position of Yearbook Editor by advisor Maureen Boody.
"I had Mrs. Boody as a Spanish teacher for all four years and also took her Yearbook class. She’s always been the type of person I can talk to and look up to. I am kind of a shy person and she helped me grow," Altarejos said.
Bound for Smith College in Northampton, Ma. in the fall, Altarejos will likely major in Anthropology or Sociology.
"It’s an all women’s college and a small school," said Altarejos, who began mapping out her college plans as a junior "because my sister already had all the material."
"I like smaller classrooms and the chance to communicate with my professors. I went to visit for a few days and, my first day there, I called my sister and we talked for hours. But, the next few days I was able to go around and discover things that I liked about the school and Northampton and got a good feel for what it would be like living away from home," she said.
What will she miss most about Amesbury High?
"The best part was discovering people I could look up to and learn life lessons from. There are so many teachers who care about you and who have been vital in my growth. They probably don’t even know how much I appreciated what they’ve done for me," Altarejos reflected.
"I was wondering why I was chosen to do this story because there are so many of my classmates who are deserving of this, who are wonderful people who have come through so much. I have learned from all of them as well," she said.
Murray had a ready explanation.
"Dominique has worked so hard for everything she has, taking advantage of everything Amesbury High has to offer. She achieved her goal and earned everyone’s respect. As an educator, it’s all about providing an atmosphere for kids to achieve their hopes and dreams. Dominique has done that," he said.

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Big hugs and lots of kisses to my daughter, Karrol, for re-designing my blogsite. She is responsible for making my blog look cool... If you want to check out her own blog, visit K-Dream Palace and her contributing articles at AATheory.