Catelyn Vasquez, Partnership Development Specialist for CAST Lead High School interviewed Mya Pacheco, a rising CAST Lead Freshman.
Q&A with Mya:
Catelyn: Today we are joined by Mya Pacheco. Hi Mya.
C: Can you tell us a little bit about yourself?
M: I come from Heritage Middle School. My favorite subject would be Science because of my teacher and because I like doing labs and stuff.
C: When this whole quarantine situation, stay at home orders, are over. What is one place in your neighborhood you are really looking forward to visiting?
M: My friend’s house. I haven’t seen my friends in a while. I have only been able to text them. So, yeah, I really miss some of my friends. That is the whole reason I like school in the first place, because I have friends there to help me out.
C: Great, I am going to be seeing my friends too. I can definitely agree with that. Alright, so we just have a couple questions to ask you today to give us a little bit more information today to learn more about you and your decision to join our CAST Lead family. The first one is, ‘When people ask you because I am sure your friends do or your family, why you chose CAST Lead for your high school experience, what do you tell them?’
M: I tell them I chose it [CAST Lead] because I want a more successful future. As soon as I saw CAST Lead I was thinking about the hotel managers and how they make a sufficient amount of money but also enjoy their job as well. And yeah, that’s what I want. To make a good amount of money, but to enjoy my job.
C: Awesome, yeah. I think we all want happiness and career success. That’s awesome. ‘What is something you are most looking forward to this fall, when school opens back up for CAST Lead?’
M: I’m most excited about how the new school will look. I’m excited about how you all were saying it would be more student designed. To me, in my mind, I am just excited to see how the new school will look and how you all are asking us what teachers we like and so it is more turned over to what kids like so we get teachers that aren’t like, you know, mean for no reason or stuff like that.
C: We have been engaging you guys along the way as much as possible with our Google Meets asking you your likes and your dislikes. We definitely want to find facilitators for CAST Lead that fit well with our students. So, we really appreciate during those events giving us good ideas for what type of facilitator would work best for you guys.
‘What are you most scared, or maybe just hesitant about when you think about CAST Lead?
M: At first when I came to CAST Lead, well, when I was thinking about high school, I really like cooking and baking. I was thinking there was a kitchen, but you said that it was going to be next year. So I thought, I don’t know, but I was imagining more of a kitchen just like the high school [east central] had, but I think I can get over it. I can work at home.
C: Your sour and spicy chicken that you shared with us on the CASA @CAST looked good. I was like, man if there wasn’t a quarantine, I would be coming over there to get some.
M: Yeah, yesterday I made some more but it wasn’t sweet and sour chicken it was Mongolian chicken and fried rice and it was really good.
C: Who taught you how to cook? How do you know how to cook?
M: Since I was like five years old, my grandma showed me how to cook. She gave me some of her recipes, like her meatloaf which is so good! Since I can’t go over to her house right now, because she lives like five hours away from us, my mom has been helping me in the kitchen, telling me her techniques.
C: Nice! It’s really nice to have those recipes passed on that’s really special.
C: So, our final question is, throughout your COVID-19 experience, what is one thing that has had an impact on you or your loved ones or maybe you have just seen it, that you would be interested in trying to change?
M: For me, and for some of my siblings, online schooling is hard. It feels like there is a whole bunch of work but really it’s like one assignment for each subject a day. But, sometimes it stresses me out because I’m like, that’s a lot of work. I guess that is one thing that I miss about public school (in person) is that focus on that one assignment for each class. And for my sister its’s been hard on her too because she feels like she has to do a whole bunch of work and for me too, it makes me feel like she has to do a whole bunch of work too because I’ve never seen work like this for a kindergartener. That’s the most that we struggle with right now. But, yeah, we definitely are not struggling with food or anything because I’ll be on Pinterest and stuff.
C: What do you think could be done. So let’s say, worst case scenario, we have to go all virtual, right, let’s say that’s what the fall looks like. Do you have any ideas for how we can combat that feeling of, it feels like a lot of work?
M: One thing I wish our school would do is just post that one assignment for the day so it’s not like, you know, all the assignments for the week. So it would be like one assignment for the day and then we can do it, get it over with and then the next day you post the next assignment. This way, I can have the feeling like I am complete for the day and not like I have to do more work.
C: Was there anything that you wanted to add at this time to let us know about, you know we are trying to find a little bit more information about why our students are choosing CAST Lead, you’re our first inaugural class. You guys are blazing the trail to this new campus and so is there is anything else you would like to add, whether to students that are maybe on the fence thinking about whether or not they want to join us, do you have any advice for them?
M: My advice would be, if it’s something you are interested in, CAST has a lot of successful business futures, so if it is something you are interested in, like hotel management, which could be really fun, and if you are interested in tourism and hospitality like I am, then this is the road for you and it is the road to be successful. To do something you love, and to make a sufficient amount of money as you go.
C: Awesome, that’s, we appreciate that feedback. We thank you for joining us today, we know you had your siblings in the background there so you have your hands full today, but we appreciate you taking the time to talk with me and we will, uh, see you next week for our Google Meet.
C: Alright, thank you.
M: Okay, bye.
Catelyn Vasquez, Partnership Development Specialist at CAST Lead High School
Catelyn Vasquez is the Partnership Development Specialist for CAST Lead. Through this position she develops relationships with community, industry and higher education partners to accelerate, enhance, and supplement the campus foundational program and ensure curriculum and staff development are aligned to improving student achievement and campus goals. Her experiences prior to CAST in business and teaching furnish a unique background perfect for seeing the value of providing early workforce development at the high school level.
Dr. Wendy Fuller, Principal, CAST Lead High School
Having worked in several roles in education as a pre-K teacher, school counselor, mentor, principal and adjunct college professor, Wendy Fuller is excited for her next role as CAST Lead Principal. Opening in August 2020, the East Central ISD school will connect students to leadership and management positions in some of the fastest-growing industries in the city — retail, hospitality and tourism, and e-commerce. A product of the East Central Independent School District, Wendy learned her colors and the alphabet at the same campus that will be renovated for the college and career-focused high school. “It’s exciting that it’s my home district,” she said recently. Over the next year, she’ll work with industry and community partners to create course pathways, plot out learning experiences outside of the classroom, and identify potential mentoring and internship opportunities for her future students. “Every milestone that I’ve accomplished is because someone I admired believed in me,” she said. She’ll create the same support system for her students. Wendy has a Doctoral degree in Education from Capella University, a Master’s Degree in counseling from the same university, and a Bachelor’s Degree from UTSA in Education.
About CAST Lead High School
CAST Lead is a career-themed high school that will prepare students for leadership positions in the growing retail, hospitality and tourism, and ecommerce industries. Students enrolled in CAST Lead will follow one of three pathways:
Retail – Students will explore the world of retail management through a variety of components including product development and packaging engineering
Hospitality and Tourism – Encompasses sectors such as Food and Beverage and Recreation
ecommerce – Students will explore marketing trends, study UI, UX, and security, and investigate the development of web and mobile applications
CAST Lead is open to all students on a lottery basis within Bexar and surrounding counties. The high school is tuition-free and offers students a chance to learn through project-based learning, mentorships and internships, as well as earn up to 2 years of college credit, and-or industry certifications.