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Communities in Schools Alumni Spotlight: Ashyra

The goal of Communities in Schools of Eastern Pennsylvania is to build a network of support around students, empowering them to achieve in school and life. We work together as a team of caring adults to keep students attending and engaged in the classroom, ready to learn. This type of support system leads to success stories like Ashyra Santos’.

As a student at Dieruff High School, Ashyra was struggling with her behavior and relationships with her school’s administration team. She was recommended to CIS by some adults within the school and soon after met her site coordinators, Mrs. Annunziata and Mrs. Ettwein. These early moments in a relationship between CIS and students are key to success, as site coordinators must ensure that students see them as trusted adults that they can lean on for support and assistance.

Ashyra and her site coordinators’ first meeting was a success, and they built a strong relationship that supported Ashyra throughout her high school days. Ashyra recalls “how happy they made me and how they motivated me to go to school. It meant the world to just talk to them in their office and have someone to talk to.” She says that she has a lot of favorite memories of her time with CIS, and “they made my high school experience the best!” She especially cherishes the life advice they gave her.

She successfully graduated high school and began working at a warehouse, where she realized that high school truly flew by and adult life is a bit harder than she expected. If she could go back in time and talk to her high school self, she would tell herself not to take school for granted and to give each day her full effort.

Ashyra currently works as an overnight stocker, a success she gives much of the credit for to CIS. She says, “If it weren’t for CIS, I wouldn’t be where I am today. I lost my mother at a young age, which was so hard. Mrs. Annunziata and Mrs. Ettwein replaced my depression with so much happiness.”

She recalls days when simply getting up in the morning was a struggle, but just thinking of the CIS staff and how they would make her day better motivated her to go to school. If she could tell the CIS Eastern PA staff anything today, she would say, “I want to thank you guys for being so amazing! I love you with all my heart.”

Providing Integrated School Supports like we did for Ashyra allows us to bring together resources and services necessary for a student’s success. We will continue to work with students like Ashyra and help them realize their potential, forging the path for their continued success in life.

To learn more about the CIS model, click here.



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