My name is Yocasta Novas, I am an ILCHS alumni and former Valedictorian (2012). Today I attend Lehman College as a member of the Lehman Scholars Honors Program; I will major in English and Psychology with a possible minor in Italian. I am also a member of the National Society of High School Scholars. I have hopes to, one day go to graduate school and become a student of Columbia or Yale University. In the future I would like to pursue work as a psychologist for adolescents and families. I have plans to travel the world and get out of the “Bronx/New York City” bubble that many people get stuck in. I want to experience what the world has to offer, and meet different types of people and cultures outside of my own. I believe that this is essential to my success and personal growth. I want to give myself the best shot possible to do big things, I don’t know how or what just as long as it’s impacting somehow.
The International Leadership Charter High School has been very influential to my college experience, beyond the basic and common experiences most students have experienced after graduating from high school. For starters, I had amazing teachers, truly dedicated to helping their students. Teachers that made sure to demonstrate and vocalize how much they appreciated and valued their students; they were our biggest supporters and they wanted us to be successful. As an individual, I was respected, admired, and inspired by my teachers and peers. In ILCHS was where my sense of leadership unfolded. I was a leader in my academics, behavior, class, and classroom. I was taught leadership qualities that I still exercise today. I was constantly placed in positions of leadership and in different leadership settings, the practice has paid off. I hope to continue to develop my academic, community service, and leadership abilities.
Attending a college preparatory charter high school, ILCHS prepared me for undergraduate studies; I am accustomed to my college classes, the rigorous curriculum, and the long class hours. In ILCHS I developed my leadership skills and academic confidence. I have learned to excel in my academics and learning continuously. I learned about community service and how to be an active student in my school community. Currently as a sophomore, I am a member of my campus Lehman Dream Team, a club created to helping and educating undocumented students. I also have plans to, very soon, become a member of the English Honors Program, and I have established goals to join a campus volunteer based sorority, as well as my campuses literary magazine, student government, and Golden Key Club. This all stems from my involvement at ILCHS through the Model UN, The ILCHS Legacy Steppers, and Student Council, as well as my volunteer hours at my local library and elementary school.
Pursuing and furthering my education after high school was also very well engrained as a goal by the school as well as my parents. As a first generation immigrant college student, ILCHS motivated me and my peers to pursue college, including Ivy leagues. We learned that it doesn’t hurt to apply, we lose nothing by it, and even if we were not accepted by an Ivy League college or our top choice school, we knew what mattered was that those schools were possibilities.
While attending ILCHS I was able to participate in memorable events, like visiting Harvard University and participating in Sade Baderinwa’s, “Get Reel with Your Dreams” Program. These are experiences that have nurtured my dreams and are experiences that I will always remember. There were opportunities that I had to pass up but the mere fact that I was invited to join these exclusive programs was enough for me. I am very proud to be able to contribute to ILCHS development today and I hope that I can continue to do so.