Reflections from Graduation: Memories and More from Our CIS Team

Community Partnership Specialist Katia Marzolf Borione attended Chicago Public Schools from the start! She graduated Kindergarten from Lincoln Elementary School, eighth grade from Franklin Fine Arts Center, and high school from Lincoln Park High School. Chi-town born and bred.

On what it felt like to walk across that stage

“I felt a mix of emotions!” said Student Supports Manager Juanita Herrera. “I was the first person in my family to graduate from college, so I felt a sense of accomplishment, pride, and excitement. Getting to have my parents there to watch me graduate meant everything to me. My parents immigrated to the U.S. from Mexico and never received an education, so I felt very proud that I was the first to graduate as a Latina of immigrant parents.”

On having an idea in mind of where your career path would lead — and then being pleasantly surprised by the destination

“The day I graduated from Arkansas State University with a major in Early Childhood Education, I knew I was going to be teaching forever!” said School Partnership Specialist Kaila Davis. “I had it ALL planned out. I would go back and teach at my elementary school. Who knew, seven years later, after teaching three different grades levels at one school, that I would transition to my current role at CIS of Chicago. While still being connected to school communities, I found my footing from the ‘outside,’ while still being a part of a larger school community. Truth be told, I wish I had a partnership like this in my years of teaching!”

On advice they would give their younger selves

“I didn’t know what I wanted to do career wise (at the time of my high school graduation),” said Chief Resource Officer Marianne Woodward. “My advice would be don’t worry too much about knowing what you want to do with your life! It will unfold as it is supposed to. Young people feel such stress about knowing what they want to do long-term, and the reality is that very few people do know that. And that’s okay.”

On how they have used their education in their current roles with CIS of Chicago

“I graduated with a double bachelor’s degree in Psychology and Criminal Justice,” said Student Supports Manager Juanita Herrera. “I absolutely used what I learned from school in my role today by understanding the role that trauma plays on students, staff, and families. I’m also able to be empathic, have great listening skills, and prioritize mental health awareness in the school and community.”

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Communities In Schools of Chicago

Communities In Schools of Chicago

Our mission is to surround students with a community of support, empowering them to stay in school and achieve in life.