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My name is Sujeidy De Jesus. I am a first generation Dominican college graduate. I graduated this past May from the University of New Haven. I am the first of my family to have graduated from a4-year university and feel so proud to have done so. It is my family’s relentless support that has pushed me through the years and kept me grounded. I grew up in Boston, MA in a community in which I wassurrounded by many cultures. My family always stressed the importance of being a proud Latina. To me and my family, being Latina means being proud of our culture and values, and always remembering theimportance of family.
This fall, I will teach 5th grade English Language Arts in Lawrence, MA and I could not be more excited. I am looking forward to meeting my students and working relentlessly tobe the great teacher they deserve. I am also looking forward to working in a community in which so many of my students and their families are Dominican.  I cannot wait to learn even more about my ownculture — making connections with my students and their families is a huge part of the reason I decided to join this movement.
I decided to apply to Teach For America my senior year of college whenworking at LEAP, an afterschool academic enrichment program in New Haven. I worked with 15 energized and unbelievably bright 3rd, 4th and 5th grade girls. Every day from 2-5pm, we worked on readingskills, math skills, social skills and leadership qualities. As cliché as it may sound, those girls taught me just as much as I taught them. I had one student,, who struggled with math and often sought myassistance during Homework Help Time. One day when I was helping her with her rounding homework, I taught her a trick that my math teacher had taught me back in the day to figure out whether to roundup or down. Two days later, during Homework Help Time another student called me over to ask for help with rounding numbers. She interjected, saying “I’ll help you; Ms. Sujeidy taught me a trick the...