Although she is only in the fourth grade, Desteny said she wants to excel in elementary school to improve her chances of getting into a prestigious high school like Phillips Academy and an Ivy League university such as Harvard.
Desteny said her older sisters, Sherylin Pena and Desiree Gonzalez, both alumni of the charter school are her role models, as well as her parents, Evelyn Alvarez and Eduardo Gonzalez.
“I cried when she received the award,” Alvarez said. “I’ve always talked to them about the importance of education and if they study hard, they can achieve any goal.”
“(Alavarez) wants us to strive for what she couldn’t accomplish and wants to give us what she didn’t have,” said Sherylin, a student at Middlesex Community College. Her sister is a junior at Notre Dame High School.
Desteny was not the only fourth-grader at the charter school who excelled in reading. Angelis read 136 books; Alenairam, 224; Hecmely, 77; Jose, 104; Chantelle, 94; Oliver, 128; Andrew, 158; Kevin, 249; Isatys, 41; and Josue read 223 books.
Carrero said students at Family Development Charter School are taught the importance of reading as young as kindergarten.
In addition to the reading program, Carrero credits the students’ success with enrolling in kindergarten at age 4, instead of the traditional age of 5.
“Hers will be the first class to graduate after being in the two-year kindergarten program,” Carrero said. “It’s absolutely incredible what happens when they start kindergarten at age 4. When they advance to first grade, they are reading at a second- or third-level. With the academic foundation they have, imagine what they’ll do when they go to the eighth grade.”
Eighth-graders receiving the president’s award were: Muna Abdulle, Relinet Jaquez, Frances Reyes, Genesis Paz-Mondesi, Mariana Perez, Isabella Saldarriaga, Adriana Tejada, Brandor Matos, Kevin Ventura, Jamie Nunez, Jeralyn Lora, Estarlyn Hiraldo, Jennifer Henriquez, Ana DeLeon, Celeste Cruz, Andreina Bernabel, Elsie Anziani, Nelselly Alsina and Genesis Paulino.