Sasha Perez is currently a Junior at Loyola University in Chicago and is an Alumni from St. Mary’s Catholic High School in Phoenix where her brother, Diego is currently in his Junior year.
Monica Perez is a single mom; she has worked full time ever since the children can remember to provide for the family. She always wanted her kids to attend a good school and receive a better education. With the scholarships from the Arizona Leadership Foundation that became a reality.
Sasha is currently at home in Phoenix doing a semester online for Loyola during the pandemic and hoping to go back to Chicago in January. She chose Loyola for college based on many factors including; location, size, and its Jesuit values. Coming from Saint Mary’s, faith was a very important aspect that she wanted to be part of her college experience. Sasha commented that “Chicago’s diversity seemed like a great place to be and after visiting, my assumption was proved correct. I was excited to have a new city to explore.”
Her favorite subject is sociology. She went into Loyola as an undecided major and only took prerequisite classes. It quickly became a fascination and declared Sociology as her major. “I think that it is very important to learn about our society and how everything in our world is connected. I am able to learn about many social justice issues that I may have never previously learned about,” Sasha told us when asked about her studies.
In addition to school, Sasha is involved in Loyola Faith and Service, Alpha Phi Omega a National Service Fraternity and LASO a Latin American Student Organization. She also works as a youth worker at a non-profit in Chicago, Centro Romero. She told us she enjoys working with the children in the after-school program who come from low-income families. Here plan when she graduates from Loyola, is to continue to do non-profit work.
Diego struggled in classes at public school, he had a speech delay and received speech therapy when he was younger. He said that he felt discouraged in classes most of the time and didn’t want to talk in class. This led him to start drawing and now art is one of his favorite classes in school and he would like to study art when he goes to college. He also participates in Cross Country and his favorite class at St. Mary’s is Seat of Wisdom.
St. Mary’s was a good fit for the Perez Family in different yet similar ways. The family has a strong faith and so they wanted a school where that was part of the fabric of the institution. They also felt like the academic rigor helped prepare Sasha for college, while the smaller size classes were ideal for Diego to feel comfortable and made him more inclined to participate in the group discussions.
All three of the family members remarked throughout their interviews with us, that without the Arizona Leadership Foundation, they probably wouldn’t have been able attend Saint Mary’s. They feel like the positive impact of the St. Mary’s community and the Arizona Leadership Foundation on their family’s education has been a gift.
About St. Mary’s Catholic High School:
Saint Mary’s Catholic High School is the first and oldest Catholic high school in Arizona. Since 1917, we have served a diverse population of students. The young men and women of Phoenix come to Saint Mary’s to receive an outstanding Catholic liberal arts education that fosters faith, promotes academic and athletic achievement, and encourages civic responsibility. Students come to be formed; they go on to shape the face of our nation as business leaders, civil servants, first responders, and public figures.