CICS Northtown Academy, Class of 2014
Northeastern Illinois University, Class of 2018
My name is Yadira Alonzo and I am 18 years old. I graduated from CICS Northtown Academy in 2014, and I am currently a full-time student at Northeastern Illinois University (NEIU). I grew up in Mexico, then moved to Albany Park in 2007.
Though I had my ups and downs, my experience at CICS Northtown was unforgettable. I remember not knowing anyone on my first day of school. I was terrified I might be isolated because I struggled with speaking English. However, my advisors Jennifer Bender and Dawn Navejas reached out and made me feel comfortable in my English as a Second Language program. Dawn Navejas was one of the best teachers I had during my freshman year because she cared about all of her students.
"I tell everyone at NEIU that who I am now is thanks to CICS Northtown Academy."
Another one of my favorite experiences at CICS Northtown was winning our championship soccer game against our rival, Cristo Rey Jesuit High School. I remember that during the game it started to rain after the first half, which made it even more intense for the coaches and players.
Later, when I was placed in honors courses, it was a real challenge for me since I was not yet accustomed to the language and the school culture. The teachers were really great—I used to stay after school getting help for writing, essay, and math problems. The challenging classes at CICS Northtown prepared me well enough to face college work.
Throughout my four years of high school, I would say I changed a lot. I remember myself as a quiet and timid young girl, but I am now a social, and open minded girl. I liked the fact that CICS Northtown is a small school because everyone knew each other, and the teachers knew you by name. Also, the school’s diversity helped students meet people from different backgrounds, which has made my college experience and meeting new people easier. I tell everyone at NEIU that who I am now is thanks to CICS Northtown Academy.