Welcome. We are students in Communications 218, a journalism class at Lehman College. Our classroom is in Room 122. This course is part of the Summer Arts Festival of College Now, a program designed to help high school students earn college credits. Every day, we report and write articles about our program, the school and the neighborhood.

Tuesday, August 07, 2007

Mini-Profile: Vanessa Cruz

By: Ashley Dreier and Keisha Ramos

Vanessa Cruz used to be a reckless, unthinking teen. But due to many obstacles she’s had to face, her character has taken on a serious tone.

Cruz now attends Banana Kelly High School, a school for students who are in need of a second chance. But for the first two years of high school, she was home schooled. Statistics shows that students who are home schooled have the highest scholastic achievement; 24.5% are enrolled in classes that are one or more grades above their age level. However, statistics are not something that Cruz cares about.
“It’s definitely not every kid’s dream come true,” she said, referring to the experience of being home schooled. “Especially when you’re a teenage girl and all you want to do is stay away from home.”

Cruz’s mother felt that sending her daughter to high school could have a negative effect on her and her sister. “She didn’t want us to be influenced by any druggies or hang out with the ‘wrong crowd,’” said Cruz. Even though Cruz’s mother had good intentions, home schooling her kids had the opposite effect. “It was a horrible experience,” Vanessa said. “I couldn’t go out and meet new people. “I wasn’t really exposed to the world.”

Because Cruz wasn’t “exposed to the world,” she found herself unprepared to deal with her mother and step-father’s separation. “I cried for nights,” she said. “It was so painful the first few weeks, but now I’m learning to deal with it little by little.”Even though he’s not her father by blood and she doesn’t live with him anymore, Cruz still treats him like her biological dad and frequently visits him.
And ironically, she has now begun to finally appreciate her real father, whom she hated all of her life.

“I visited him after so long and saw that he does care about us. He had pictures of us all over his apartment.” said Jessica Cruz, 18 year old sister. Cruz’s mom told Vanessa and her siblings that their biological father didn’t want anything to do with them, but because of her sister’s recent visit she discovered that’s not true. Being sworn to secrecy, Cruz can’t say anything about this to her mother, so instead she just bottles up her anger of being lied to all these years. “I would love to confront her about the truth,” she said.

Even though Cruz had a bit of a rough childhood, she decided to make that into a positive thing and learn from her parents’ mistakes so she herself could be an ideal parent to her future kids. “They won’t be home schooled, that’s for sure,” she said. “I drove my mother crazy being home all the time; No way are my kids going to do that to me. I want them out!”


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