Published: October 15th, 2012
On September 20th more than 400 guests from the Washington, DC business, education, and nonprofit sectors joined the Carlos Rosario School Community at the Marriott Wardman Park Hotel to celebrate School President and Founder Sonia Gutierrez and her 40 years of service.
The opening reception and silent auction illustrated the School’s rich diversity and featured cultural performances ranging from a traditional Chinese lion dance to Ethiopian dancers. As guests bid on silent auction items, they sampled appetizers donated by local restaurants and met Carlos Rosario School culinary arts students and graduates.
The evening’s program started with an invocation by Congressman Robert Garcia, and guests were welcomed by Carlos Rosario School Board Chair Alberto Gomez and Carlos Rosario Educational Foundation Board Chair Gustavo Velasquez. Mayor Vincent Gray honored Sonia with remarks, and Councilmember Jim Graham shared a Proclamation by the City Council to honor September 20th as El dia de Sonia Gutierrez.
This unique event then highlighted heartfelt stories from School alumni as graduates toasted Sonia’s leadership and shared how she and the School have impacted their lives. Following the alumni toasts, an inspirational video tribute brought audience members to tears. Glimpsing into the future, Chief Academic Officer, Allison R. Kokkoros also raised her glass to Sonia. Allison along with other school leaders shared Sonia’s vision for the future including the new state of the art workforce development Sonia Gutierrez Campus under construction in northeast DC. The last toast was a word of gratitude from Sonia as she thanked the “angels” who played a role in the School’s history and the award-winning model it is today.
This gala event kicked off a year-long fundraising campaign to raise funds for scholarships, to build the capacity of the Foundation, and to promote the expansion, enrichment, and replication of the Carlos Rosario Educational Model.
Published: July 16th, 2012
For this year’s Carlos Rosario School graduation, presided over by President and Founder Sonia Gutierrez, we were pleased to welcome many key community leaders to share with us the successes of our students. Greetings were brought from Patrick Mara Ward 1 Representative from the DC Board of Education, Brian Jones Chairman of the DC Public Charter School Board, Jose R. Alvarez, Chief of Staff, Office of the State Superintendent of Education (OSSE), and Alberto Gomez Chairman of the Carlos Rosario School Board of Trustees. A special recognition was delivered by Honorable Anibal Gomez Toledo, Consul of the Embassy of Mexico. Other key attendees included Ms. Celia Yaneth Medrano, Consul General from the Embassy of El Salvador, and David Ivey-Soto from the Culinary Institute of America. Showing their strong support for the School and our students, six Carlos Rosario School board members and multiple advisory committee members were in attendance.
An emotional rendition of “Hero” sung by Tara Villanueva, Creative Arts Coordinator, captured the spirit of this year’s
Carlos Rosario School graduation. Community leaders and key school supporters echoed this sentiment as they congratulated students on their heroic efforts to make continuing education a priority for themselves, for their children and for their communities. A crowded auditorium shared in the triumphs of the more than 300 graduates from Culinary Arts, Nurse Aide, Computer Support Specialist, Customer Service, GED, English as a Second Language level 8 and Citizenship.
This graduation, however, is just one step along a continuing path, and looking to the future, 21 scholarships were awarded to students who will go on to higher education institutions. Before the funds were awarded Supportive Services Director Tina Guzman asked students, staff and supporters who contributed to the scholarship fund through attending the school dance, buying candy, purchasing a school water bottles, donating from pay checks, etc. to stand. Looking over the auditorium filled with smiling students, staff, and supporters on their feet, it was easy to see how committed the school community is to ensuring that students have the opportunity to continue their studies. The ceremony was concluded by Allison Kokkoros, Chief Academic Officer, who encouraged all in attendance to continue to dream big.
Congratulations to all our 2012 graduates!
Published: June 26th, 2012
The Carlos Rosario School paid tribute to its rich Asian Pacific Islander diversity during the month of May through student-led initiatives, collaborations with various local Arts organizations and a heritage festival including performances by students, faculty and staff. The School’s combined student and staff population represents more than 12 Asian Pacific Islander countries.
Local writers Regie Cabico, co-founder of SULU DC and Gowri Koneswaran, past Program Director of BloomBars led upper level ESL students through interactive creative writing workshops encouraging students to explore and express their goals. Students (lower level ESL?) had a chance to move to rhythm during dance workshops/performances given by Chinese ribbon dancer Ling Tang and Bollywood dancer and owner of District Groove Amina Vohra. Also Polynesian dancers from the company Aloha Island Revue performed traditional and contemporary dances and chants from the islands of Hawai’I, Samoa, New Zealand, and Tahiti. These workshops and performances represent a community commitment to sharing cultural history with students of many cultures. Creative Arts Coordinator Tara Villanueva said, “I love Asian Pacific Heritage Month because students are able to see a variety of cultures, and there is so much pride. It’s great to see how the diversity of Asia and the Pacific Islands are so well represented by our students, staff and local community artists.”
Through performances of dance, music, film, and dress, the heritage festival highlighted the many talents of School students and staff. The event was kicked off with a performance of the Lion Dance by the Wong People where a colorful lion ducked and weaved around the stage. A pageant of traditional dress highlighted the differences among the cultures. English as a Second Language classes got into the spirit of things teaching, singing and dancing. Chief Academic Officer Allison Kokkoros concluded the festival sharing a quote from Confucius: “If you plan for a year, plant a seed. If for ten years, plant a tree. If for a hundred years, teach the people. When you sow a seed once, you will reap a single harvest. When you teach the people, you will reap a hundred harvests.” Students and staff were invited to the cafeteria for a tasting of traditional Asian food prepared by culinary arts students following the festival.
As always, the success of the festival happened in large part thanks to hours of dedication from volunteers like Adenike Ageliyi,an Orientation A student and former seamstress from Nigeria. Adenike, who has been at the School for only five months, designed and sewed many of the costumes used for the festival. Adenike said, “I was very happy to sew for [the festival] because it’s my School, and they are helping me. This is a way to help the school too.”