Ignatian Social Justice Essay: Loyola High School Workshop at LSA in East Harlem

Dec 20, 2021

On Saturday morning December 4, Maura Brennan, Director of College Counseling at Loyola High School, presented a workshop called The Road to College at Little Sisters of the Assumption (LSA) in East Harlem. Fifteen high school students, who are LSA clients, and their parents attended the workshop. Maura gave them a comprehensive overview of the different types of colleges, financial aid options, how to research colleges, and what type of students’ colleges are seeking.

Most of the parents speak only Spanish, so Maura spoke for a few minutes, and then Melina Gonzalez from LSA translated into Spanish. They hit a good rhythm quickly and the fully engaged audience asked many questions.

Maura handed each family a copy of her presentation, a list of colleges with HEOP Programs, a SUNY admissions summary, an EOP summary, and a CUNY admissions profile of current freshmen. Melina Gonzalez thanked Maura for “being motivational, invigorating all our spirits, and making everyone feel welcome.”

Maura Brennan is the first professional that the Ignatian Social Justice Ministry (ISJ) invited to address LSA high school clients. Jimmy Coffey, a member of ISJ, initiated the LSA College Access Program this fall. He believes there is a great need for parents and students to be helped with the college process, as he has experienced the process with his five children.

Jimmy hoped that Maura’s workshop would spark LSA students’ and parents’ interest to ask for additional help. And, Jimmy was right! As soon as the presentation ended, a 12th grader asked for someone to help with her college essay that is due January 15, 2022. A St. Ignatius parishioner has volunteered to mentor her.

Little Sisters of the Assumption also asked us to develop a formal college essay writing program that will begin in spring 2022. If you are interested, please contact [email protected] or Jean Santopatre, Pastoral Associate, at [email protected].

– Laura De Boisblanc, Ignatian Social Justice Ministry Chair