Myriam Trujillo said, “I'm so proud of my kids. This is just the beginning." Myriam was reflecting on her children’s recent graduations: the high school graduation of her son, Sergio Velazquez and the college graduation of her daughter, Brenda Velazquez.
Candria Posso, Brenda’s Big Sister since 2003 remarked, “Brenda has changed tremendously since I first met her, from being super quiet and shy to being an outgoing, assertive young lady who speaks her mind and is ready to take charge, and show what a true leader she has become.” Brenda is the first in her family to graduate with a bachelor’s degree. This spring she graduated from St. John’s University with a Bachelor of Science in Criminal Justice. She shared that “It feels great to be done [with college]; it feels good that now I can start the path to my career and be able to focus more on myself instead of school work.” At St. John’s Brenda was part of the Criminal Justice Honor Society and the National Honor Society, which is especially impressive given that she commuted to school and worked at the same time.
When asked what she is proudest of about Brenda, Candria shared, “I am most proud of Brenda’s generosity of spirit. Not only is she very aware and appreciative of the sacrifices her mother has made, she also wants to give back to all those who have helped her along the way. She is now volunteering at the summer camp that she once went to. It makes me proud to know that she has not only succeeded academically but is thriving at being an amazing human being.” The biggest piece of advice she wanted to share with Brenda was to “Give wholeheartedly of yourself: when you have your heart open to give it also means you have it open to receive.” Brenda’s career goals include: social work, helping abused women and children, traveling to aid people in poverty, and/or immigration paralegal work. Brenda is currently applying to paralegal positions (and has a few upcoming interviews) and hopes to begin her career path soon. She shared, “I will keep applying and trying until I succeed.”
While Brenda just finished college, she is excited for her younger brother Sergio who will begin college this fall. “I’m so proud of him. I can't believe he is growing up so fast. I miss the little Sergio and wish I could reverse time but seeing him grow into adulthood makes me a proud sister. Anything he needs I will be here to help and I hope he comes to me for advice.” Sergio graduated from Christ the King High School. He earned an advanced regents in math and science and at graduation received the Queens County Attorney A Brown award (for good citizenship and academic excellence in the school). This fall, Sergio will be a freshman at City College of NY with an intended major of Mechanical Engineering. While Sergio is nervous (like so many other rising college students) about mastering areas like time management and maintaining good grades while taking challenging classes, he is most looking forward to studying what he's really interested in, and starting the path towards his future career.
Sergio’s Big Brother since 2009, John, shared his own pride and observations about Sergio: “Sergio has become a confident, driven young man. When we met, he barely spoke; he didn't trust in how education could open doors for him. Today, he's an engaging, curious guy who's excited for college and what lies beyond.” John shared his hopes for Sergio now that he’s off to college this fall: “I hope he tries without fear of failure. Life is a series of test-and-learn situations. From classes to professors, friends to extracurriculars, college is great for learning about who you want to be...and re-inventing as necessary.” John noted the biggest piece of advice he wants to share with Sergio is the following: “Build your life around what's important to you. If you can make several of those things intersect, even better. Treat people with respect--you never know who'll open a door. Take risks--recovering is easier than you think.”
Brenda and Sergio shared that they would like to thank a few individuals and programs for helping in their success to date: Catholic Big Sisters & Big Brothers’ staff, their mentors, and their mother and grandmother for their support and encouragement. Brenda also expressed gratitude for the support of the Jewish Foundation of Education for Women and St John's University.
Congratulations to the Trujillo family as well as our other CBSBB Littles graduating this year! All of us at CBSBB are incredibly proud of you for your accomplishments and what you have yet to achieve!