Dearborn Graduate Spotlight, Teresa Fontes

We recently spoke to Teresa Fontes, Dearborn STEM Academy ‘22, a first year student at College of the Holy Cross about her experience at Dearborn and how she feels prepared for college and career success.

Teresa traveled to the United States in 2016 from Cape Verde and entered Dearborn in grade 7 the following year, her first schooling experience in the states. When asked why she chose the Dearborn, Teresa says, “I heard about the Dearborn because a lot of Cape Verdean students go there. So I decided I wanted to be in an environment with people from the same background as me.” Roughly 20% of students at Dearborn are Cape Verdean immigrants.

In just two years, Teresa was able to transition out of ELL classes and saw her confidence in the classroom grow, leading to her crowning accomplishment of becoming class valedictorian. Teresa says, “I remember in 8th grade, they made me join classes with all the American kids, and I was pretty shy. I feel like through the staff there helped me grow my confidence. Now I’m in college and I’m not scared of sharing my thoughts, even though sometimes I might be wrong, but I’m still willing to participate and be the first person to speak up in class.”

Teresa enrolled in the Health and Life Sciences pathway her sophomore year and immediately noticed the value of the Dearborn model. “If you take a class, let’s say like a social issues class, you’re going to be talking about different topics in that class compared to a biology class. But at the Dearborn, once you choose your pathway, all your classes are related and it allows you to go deeper into certain topics so you learn more.” She credits concepts she learned in her Advanced Topics in Science high school class for helping her land a job at her college’s research lab. “I feel like a lot of what you study in high school, you kind of just forget. But here I’m able to actually use the things that I’ve learned throughout those years.”

While at the Dearborn, Teresa took a total of six Early College courses through partnerships with Wentworth Institute of Technology and Bunker Hill Community College. The program encouraged her to try new things, step outside of her comfort zone, and explore her interests with tuition-free courses, her choices ranging from math to psychology. Being able to experience life on a college campus early prepared her for what to expect when she arrived at Holy Cross this summer. “I was already used to a college campus, so it wasn’t really like a drastic change”.

Now settled into college and eager to start her role in the campus lab, Teresa shares some advice for Dearborn students.

“I would say Early College is something that I encourage everyone to do. There are a lot of benefits. You don’t have to pay for the classes you take. You’re taking college classes at an actual campus; you’re getting the feeling of being on the campus without having to worry about money. I would encourage students who are not sure if they have a passion, they’re not sure of what they want to do once they go to college, to do Early College and just explore different areas of study. I took math class, I took writing classes, I took psychology classes. And that definitely helped me, I would say, ground myself, see which things I liked, which things I did not like. So it was an amazing experience.”

0 replies

Leave a Reply

Want to join the discussion?
Feel free to contribute!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *