Graduation 2015: Academy for Career Exploration

Here are some of the outstanding graduates of our Class of 2015.

Formerly known as the Textron Chamber of Commerce Academy, ACE is Rhode Island’s first public charter school. The school operates as a special public charter school within the PPSD.

Aileen Cepeda. Besides being a model student, Aileen Cepeda has taken advantage of everything ACE has to offer and has given back to her fellow students.

She earned straight A’s her senior year with an outstanding attendance record and is an active participant in class. She has always been a student leader and has volunteered to help at school events and community service projects.

In her sophomore year, Aileen and her mother signed up for Metrix Learning to complete online courses. Aileen completed the Microsoft Excel training and helped her mom take courses at home.  When former Mayor Angel Taveras visited ACE that year, Aileen volunteered to explain the Metrix system to the mayor and share what they were working on.

In her junior year, Aileen successfully completed the EMT Certification program. She was selected to participate in Lifespan’s Youth Employment Program, designed to promote career exploration and youth development. The program offers an eight-week paid summer employment experience at a Lifespan hospital or with Lifespan Corporate Services to students between 16 and 19 years old.

As a senior, Aileen is the only ACE student to participate in the SkillsUSA Rhode Island Leadership Conference for two consecutive years. She was selected to participate in the Providence Explorers Program in lieu of her internship and spent every Saturday going through what is known as the Providence Police Academy for youth.

One of her crowning achievements was the creation and organization of a workshop for the school’s female students and teachers designed to help build self-esteem. Called “Say You’re Beautiful, Believe You’re Beautiful,” Aileen planned the entire event herself that featured uplifting makeovers, prizes, food, and guest speakers.

She is also the vice president of the senior class and volunteered to help raise money for her school and for sweatshirts for the senior class.

She is the recipient of the ACE Citizenship Award, the Board of Directors Award in Math, the Lt. Governor’s Leadership Award for 2015, and is a finalist for the Foundation for the Children of Providence Scholarship.

Aileen is considering a career in forensics and/or law enforcement and plans to attend Johnson & Wales University.

Jerry Jules is the current ACE Student Council president.

Jerry is a quiet young man with a fantastic attendance record. His teachers consider him a leader at the school and have seen him become more focused on his schoolwork as he has gotten more involved in leading the student council.

In a narrative developed for his English class, Jerry talks about his decision to pursue a career in law enforcement. The desire to do so was born the day he witnessed a shooting outside his grandmother’s house. His only thought that day was, “How can I protect her?” He decided that he would make protecting others his career.

Jerry plans to enlist in the Air Force.

Rafiany Peralta travels to Providence’s East Side each week to help Day One as a volunteer.

Day One is one of the few organizations in Rhode Island that deals with issues of sexual assault as a community concern. Day One provides treatment, intervention, education, advocacy, and prevention services to Rhode Islanders of all ages. Their services include a 24-hour Helpline, legal and law enforcement advocacy programs, individual and group therapy, professional training sessions, and prevention education workshops.

Rafiany does research, helps to prepare for and attends Health Fairs, helps to maintain the database and, since education is the key to prevention, she brings Day One’s message back to her peers at ACE.

Rafiany felt welcome at Day One “right from day one,” she says. She enjoys attending staff meetings and, as an intern, keeps a daily Reflections Diary that reflects the thoughts and inspirations that come to her as she moves within her time at this vital organization, giving her insight and understanding on how to integrate what she is learning at the job site with the “outside” world.

Rafiany’s supervisor and mentor, Sandra Malone, also began her career at Day One as a volunteer many years ago. She is now the Coordinator of Prevention Education. She spoke about how detailed and thorough Rafiany is at her work, and expressed her appreciation for all the students that intern at Day One.

“They become ambassadors,” she said, “bringing what they learn here about sexual abuse back out into their communities. And this is a good thing.”

Next year, Rafiany plans to attend CCRI and then move on to major in Psychology at Rhode Island College.