Meet Moises an eighth-grade student at St. Gregory’s Catholic School in Phoenix. When Moises was a young child, he was abandoned by his biological mother in Mexico City. Sadly, his situation didn’t improve as he was forced to stay with an abusive elder, who forbade him from a formal education. The Police became involved and Moises was able to escape from this horrible environment when he was sent to DIF, the National System for Integral Family Development. Moises then moved to the United States after the DIF was able to locate his father from Moises’ birth certificate. Once in Phoenix, Moises was placed in foster care while the courts decided what laid ahead for young Moises. The process took around six months and consisted of court and home visits, therapy and behavioral coaching. While in foster care, Moises attended public school where he received a formal education for the first time in his life. Moises explains that he was bullied because he only spoke Spanish and simply couldn’t comprehend what was being taught to the other children. The courts awarded custody to Moises’ biological father and wife (Torres-Manzo Family) and that’s when Moises’ story truly begins to take a positive turn.
At the time, his half-sister, Jackie, was already attending St. Gregory’s and the family had the opportunity to enroll Moises in fourth grade. Since being at St. Gregory’s, Moises has received hope, love, and a wonderful education. Before coming to the United States, Moises did not have an educational experience — he didn’t know English, could not read or write, nor did he know his own birthday.
The family believes that if it wasn’t for his Catholic education, Moises wouldn’t be where he is today. The education he has received at St. Gregory’s has provided so many resources and has given the family a firm conviction that he will succeed and overcome the numerous challenges he faced growing up. Moises is doing well in school and involved in multiple extracurricular activities. He has grown academically and spiritually. Moises still faces challenges in school, but he is better equipped to overcome them since he belongs to a community that truly cares and recognizes what he’s been through. When he is older, Moises would like to attend ASU and study forensic science. His past has undoubtedly shaped what he would like to do for a career, “I would love to become a Police Officer, and a detective. Ever since I was little, I have dreamed of becoming a police officer to help people who need help.”
Moises’ sister, Jackie, a sixth grader, has attended St. Gregory’s since preschool. Math is her favorite subject and Jackie would love to eventually attend Harvard and become a surgeon. Jackie and Moises participate in a boxing program outside of school and they enjoy being able to do that together.
Giving back and helping those in need is very important to the family and they do a variety of different charitable projects. Once a month they make over 100 sandwiches to give to the homeless. They also feed the less fortunate with a group called Hope for Phoenix. This year, they collected over 1,000 books for the Navajo Nation, and also made bookmarks.
“St. Gregory is our second home; it is a place where everyone can feel welcome and loved. They give our kids more than an education, they give our kids confidence and love. The Arizona Leadership Foundation scholarship has given our family the opportunity to send our kids to private school; without them, we couldn’t afford to pay tuition. Our kids have great teachers and we have an amazing community. Our school shares our faith and is helping us create great faith followers and leaders for our world.” explained Paola Manzo.
About St. Gregory Catholic School:
St. Gregory Catholic School is a Catholic elementary school located in central Phoenix. Our school serves students in grades PS – 8th grade. St. Gregory offers an academically challenging learning environment while students learn about being active faith followers of Christ. Students support the community by participating in service projects throughout the school year. St. Gregory School offers honors classes in grades 6-8, sports for students in grades 5 – 8, and a fine arts program for students in all grades.