Wheelock Seniors Tell Some Stories

Before heading off to Norwich CT for a new job, Nicole Anllo was able to interview some of the many members of the Wheelock College class of 2012. What follows in this post and more in the days to come is but a brief glimpse of the rich lives of learning that students have experienced here in the heart of Boston.

Wheelock Class of 2012, Francisco Perez-Turcio Francisco Perez-Turcios

Hometown: East Boston, MA

Major: B.A in Mathematics and continuing Masters in Elementary Education.

What was your greatest achievement or accomplishment while at Wheelock?

I think my greatest achievement at Wheelock has been being a part of La Herencia Latina from its inception.

How has your education at Wheelock made a difference in your life?

I think education at Wheelock has given me more confidence because the knowledge one is exposed during the four years at Wheelock helps one look at things from many perspectives, which leads to confidence. In the case of La Herencia Latina, its formation was a long process simply because of the preparation of developing strong answers to why La Herencia Latina was needed on Campus. Even though some saw the perspective of why La Herencia was needed, it forced us (its founding members) to see things through the perspective of La Herencia Latina’s opponents. I think that in order to be an effective leader one must see things from different angles to make a strong case for whatever cause one is working on. The more angles one looks at an issue, the more confident one is one their response or action.

What was a challenge you faced while in college?

Many of my classmates would never guess that the main challenge I faced in college was my mom being diagnosed with breast cancer. I found out about the diagnosis near the end of the spring semester of my freshman year. I really did not think much of it because the doctor told my mom that they caught it really early. She was going to receive radiation to stop the cancer from spreading and it would be enough, but things only got worse. By the beginning of my sophomore year, my mom had become less energetic and gradually stopped working. At the time, it was soccer season and it was a must because I needed an outlet to let my anger out. I was angry because I felt my mom didn’t deserve to go through something like that and that I couldn’t help her situation.

I wanted to help out my dad economically because I noticed that we were getting less and less food every week, so I got a part-time job. I really only slept 6 hours (at most) between school, soccer, and work. I was lucky enough to turn in the amount of work I did for my classes because I would have to either stay up late, wake up early, or pull all-nighters. The only relief I had was summer because I slept a lot more. The only change in junior year was soccer and spring semester. I didn’t do soccer for the whole season because of physical fatigue, so I caught up on sleep.

Spring semester of junior year was a crucible. My mom started chemotherapy and was just exhausted all the time. My dad was getting less hours at his job, which meant that what I brought home was necessary. The only way I could get another job was by doing an overnight shift because of classes, so I did. I was basically up from Sunday to Thursday for that whole semester because Sunday I went to work 11pm-7am and Monday I had classes from 9am to 2pm, work from 5-9pm and work again from 10pm to 7am. Sleep happened during my dad driving to work, two 3-hour naps at home, break time in the overnight (sometimes during the shift), between classes (in classes sometimes; ask Lisa Lobel, Marjorie Hall, or Judith at the cafe), and on the weekends. Homework was done on the fly and projects in three hours. I remember my dad saying one time, “You’re gonna die. Your eyes are dark at the bottom and you look pale.” After that semester, I felt empowered as I realized that I had just done for three months.

What are you most passionate about?

I’m passionate about educating kids from the urban setting. Personally, I think that kids in the urban setting have a strong focus on things that do not necessarily help them. I remember when I was a kid that I really hated school because it basically seemed like the teacher just wanted me to memorize what they were teaching, but my focus was on playing soccer or helping Super Mario find the princess (I never found her because of school and its homework). Today, things are not much different. Kids do not feel school has any relevance at an early age, which later on is troublesome because they decide to drop school and just “be cool”. Later on they realize the importance of school. I think that engaging kids at school at an early age can help out with the school-to-prison pipeline that is heavily present in urban communities. I think another thing missing in urban school settings is this lack of personal connection to the students. I understand that there is a level of professionalism that teachers must keep, but there are many kids out there that stop attending school because they feel that no one really cares. Others feel like they have no motivation to continue. This is one aspect of urban setting education I strongly want to help change simply because I felt that through out most of my classes.

What do you plan to do after graduating?

After graduating, I always thought about going into the Air Force for personal reasons. However, I intend on going to grad school in the fall to earn my Masters in Elementary Education.