On Thursday, May 2nd, the Carlos Rosario International Public Charter School commemorated its 20 years as a charter during its annual Achieving the Dream event at the Sonia Gutierrez Campus. Over 100 leaders in education, immigrant services, government, and private sector gathered to celebrate the School’s anniversary of becoming the first adult public charter school in the nation.
The School, which has its roots in the Program of English Instruction for Latin Americans started in the 1970s, was under the D.C. Public Schools system until the District’s financial crisis in the early nineties forced its closure. The school’s incorporation as a public charter in 1998, paved the way for its growth.
During its time as a charter, the Carlos Rosario School has served more than 20,000 students, grown its team from 10 staff members to over 200, expanded to two locations, and grown to offer over a dozen academic programs, including most recently the Small Business Program, Bilingual Paraeducator Training, and ESL Arts.
Thursday’s event served as an opportunity to thank supporters and showcase the school’s growth and excellence over the last two decades. Throughout the evening, budding chefs served delicious international hors d’oeuvres that were planned and prepared by themselves. The evening was emceed by NBC Washington news anchor Erika Gonzalez. Opening remarks were made by the school’s CEO, Allison Kokkoros, recognizing that the school would not have survived and thrived during the past two decades if it was not for support of the community, benefactors, students, teachers and staff. Kokkoros also read a ceremonial proclamation from D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser.
A moment of special recognition was held for founder Sonia Gutierrez, who retired this year from the school’s board and supporting nonprofit after nearly 50 years of service to the school.
D.C. Ward 1 Councilmember Brianne Nadeau read the resolution passed by the D.C. City Council to recognize the 20-year milestone. She expressed her gratitude for the opportunities and services provided to thousands of students by the school’s tremendous staff. “Carlos Rosario treats everyone they bring in as a family,” said Ms. Nadeau who was a student of the school’s community language program l.
Erick Quinteros, a graduate from the school’s Bilingual Paraeducator Program, spoke on behalf of student leaders from ESL, GED and career training programs. He shared anecdotes of their life changing experiences and how the school’s scholarship program is helping them to achieve their dreams. Erick would like to become a teacher and is working toward his Associate Degree in Education.
He started college at the University of the District of Columbia in January and found his first job in the field of education as a paraprofessional at LaSalle-Backus Educational Campus. “At Carlos Rosario School, we follow our dreams. I encourage you to keep helping students like me to achieve our goals. I am proof that immigrants can achieve amazing things in this country,” Erick said.
This celebration was possible thanks to the support of the school sponsors Benecurv, Community Capital Corporation, PNC, Verizon, DC Health Link, Community IT Innovators, Maria Orozco, Hector Torres and Jay Haddock, the Kokkoros Family, US. Foods, The CALPRO Group, Inc., and SAVAL Food Service.
If you would like to support the school’s scholarship program, click here to donate!