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College Bound! VTA’s Cristo Rey Intern Shares Lessons Learned Outside the Classroom

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High school seniors across the country are anxiously awaiting graduation day. For senior Coraima Bolanos Alejo, her enthusiasm is contagious.  

Coraima is a senior at Cristo Rey San Jose Jesuit High School in San Jose. Not only is she part of the school’s first graduating class, but she will be the first in her family to attend college, an achievement that makes her parents and three siblings proud.

Cristo Rey San Jose, founded in 2014, is one of 32 such school nationwide. It’s the only private high school in east San Jose, serving solely low-income minority students, many of which are Latino. Some tuition costs are offset through student participation in a corporate work study program. VTA is a proud partner and has been working with Cristo Rey students for the past 4 years. This school year, Coraima (who also worked with VTA as a freshman) and eight other students ranging from freshmen to senior participated in the program.

One day a week and one Friday per month between August and June, Coraima has been a dedicated member of the VTA Business Services team. She has assisted with numerous responsibilities including employee training programs and retirement services.

Coraima admits she was shy when she first started at VTA, but acknowledges that the experience has boosted her confidence to engage with people more comfortably. “Coraima has been a tremendous asset to both Organizational Development & Training (OD&T) and Retirement Services teams,” said Elizabeth Jespersen, a supervisor in OD&T and Diversity and Inclusion.  “Her willingness to work on a variety of projects exposed her to new opportunities to enhance her skills and knowledge as well as network with a cross section of people at all levels of the organization.”
 
Coraima will be pursuing a degree in business at California State University East Bay. While she doesn’t know how she’ll apply the degree, she knows what business environment she’s looking for. “During my time at VTA, I have really appreciated the value of team work and diversity. I realize how important it is to have a diverse work force, especially when you are serving so many different customers.”
 
The road to graduation has not always been easy. Coraima admits to making some bad choices early in high school and not staying focused on academics, but found purpose and spirituality at Cristo Rey. She shares one important piece of advice for other students searching for their path, “Find whatever you believe in and use that as a resource. Surround yourself with good people.”

Congratulations to Coraima, all of our Cristo Rey interns and the class of 2018! 

Learn more about VTA’s internship opportunities.

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