By Thais Gutierrez-Hyde Class of 2018, Ithaca College Class of 2022
It was an honor to graduate from Hyde Leadership Charter in June of 2018. With the push that I received from my college counselors, my teachers, and my administrators I continue to be the leader I was at Hyde at Ithaca College.
To be honest, the first week of school was really hard. I was without my family and friends and it was my first time being in a predominately white institution. I had no idea what I was getting myself into. All I did was think, “How in the world, am I supposed to fit in?” So many new faces, and I felt alone. It didn’t take long to realize that I was struggling because I had a negative mindset. I did not give Ithaca a chance. I realized I needed to explore and step out of my comfort zone. I was assigned a roommate during summer orientation. She was tall and slim with brunette hair. “Hi I’m Leah, what is your name?” she was actually really cool. I responded, “Thais.” Her eyes lit up with amazement. “That’s a unique name,” she excitedly responded. She played basketball just like me. She had younger brothers just like me and I was excited that we could hold a conversation. I judged her wrong, just like I judged Ithaca College all wrong.
Since I’ve been here, I have become very open-minded about Ithaca and I have made the best of my time here. Like my mother would say, I am living my best life. I have had opportunities to go to conferences at Cornell University with students also interested in the teaching field. I worked with an inspiring black woman named Bettina L. Love. Her research focuses on how teachers and schools working with parents and communities can build communal, civically engaged schools rooted in intersectional social justice to create equitable classrooms. One of my favorite classes Intro to Practice & Pedagogy. In this course, I get to teach in front of the class using different teaching methods. I’ve experimented with direct instruction, cooperative learning, inquiry-based, learning and concept attainment. I have an opportunity to be exposed to all these new experiences, which I need in order to fulfill my destiny as a High School principal.
Hyde’s College Persistence Fund has helped me so much. Most importantly, it has helped me to commute from home and back to Ithaca College. My first semester my family and I struggled to afford travel back and forth. The thought of not being to able to see my family, the people I love most, during breaks was unbearable. I knew I couldn’t let this affect my academics, so I immediately sought a solution. I applied for Hyde’s College Persistence Fund and received the means to travel home and visit my family. I know that in order for me to do well in school, I must be able to see my family. When I’m home I always visit Hyde and say hello to my college counselors, who believe in me. This summer I hope to do a summer internship at Hyde to give back to others what was given to me and to give me some professional experience.
Hyde has and continues to help me reach my educational goals and my dreams of being a principal one day!