Carmen currently studies economics at New York University, after studying for a year in Malaysia and Italy directly after graduating from high school. She is the daughter of two immigrant parents and while she was born in the United States, up until age 7 she lived in northern Mexico.
Upon returning to Chicago she attended her neighborhood school from 2nd through 8th grade. Although her school was helpfully located across the street from her home, it was over-crowded and she felt that teachers weren’t able to do the most for their students, “...they were just trying to keep us from getting in trouble.”
When it came time for Carmen to transition into high school, Carmen’s mom was very proactive in the school search. Carmen and her mom sought out high school fairs on their own and found Whitney Young Magnet High School through this process.
While Whitney Young was the best academic option for Carmen, she did have some reservations about the distance from her home. After seven years of walking a block to school she would suddenly have to travel 50 minutes by bus to get to class. Carmen was also a member of the track team so she was leaving the school around 6:00pm every day to go home on the CTA.
When asked about a standout moment in her time at CPS Carmen says, “my best experience was after I graduated high school and went to college and I was as prepared as all my friends who went to expensive private schools.” She admits that Whitney Young has more resources than many other Chicago public schools, but she is happy that her education parallels that of private education.