This summer we’ve been catching up with all of the past Victoria Soto Memorial Scholarship winners to see how things are going. This week we talked to Rachael Merritt, one of the 2015 scholarship recipients. Rachael is currently studying Secondary Education and English at Central Connecticut State University.
This past school year, Rachael mentored two elementary school students in the New Britain school district and helped them develop a love of learning and education. Rachael said, “Mentoring at Smalley Elementary School was a wonderful experience! Once a week in the fall semester I would visit the school and my two students. I helped them with their schoolwork and, in turn, developed a relationship with them. It was all worth it the moment I stepped in the door and could see their faces light up. By the end of the semester, many other kids in the classrooms were asking if I could sit with them, as well!”
In addition to mentoring, Rachael held a position as a writer and contributing editor for the Odyssey Online and was a fitness center worker at RECentral on campus. She is also involved with the Newman Club, CCSU Education Club and is a member of the Connecticut Education Association- Student Program, through which she has attended numerous educational conferences throughout this past year. On top of all the extra activities Rachael is involved in, she managed to earn Dean’s List academic standing for the entirety of her freshman year and finished with a 3.86 GPA!
Over the summer Rachael has been working at Pumpkin Preschool where she gets to spend her days learning to become a better teacher. Rachael told us, “I absolutely adore Pumpkin Preschool. This summer, I had my heart stolen by a group of eight kids. The unconditional love that the kids have for their teachers is absolutely amazing and makes me actually look forward to going to work each day. I’m very upset that I have to leave them so that I can go back to school, but I’m going to treasure this summer for the rest of my life.”
Ahead this semester is Rachael’s sophomore year. Rachael said, “I love living on campus! It has definitely made my college experience all the more better. I’ve made lasting friendships, as well as gotten involved in campus life. Living on campus has only made me love my school even more and I would recommend it to anyone entering their freshman year. While it’s definitely demanding, I’m getting to learn all new things and discover passions I didn’t even know I had! For example, this past spring semester, I took an Astronomy class and fell in love with everything to do with the sky. I can’t wait to return in the fall!”
Rachael looks forward to continuing on with her education program and is planning to study abroad in Ireland! “My school has a great program for Spring 2017 semester in Ireland, as well as a quick week trip to Ireland during winter break. I’m not sure what I’m going to end up doing yet, but I’m looking forward to whatever experience I end up with!”
Rachael said she is eternally grateful for the opportunity that the Victoria Soto Memorial Scholarship has given her and she cannot wait to see what the future holds. We cannot wait to see what the future holds for her as well! We wish Rachael all the best in all of her educational endeavors! We know she will continue to do amazing things!