Archbishop Carroll High School Student to Be Honored at the White House
January 18, 2012
Bertha Castaneda, a senior at Archbishop Carroll High School, has been chosen by the White House as a Champion of Change.
January 25, 2012
The White House
Ms. Castaneda will be honored at a White House reception by President Barack Obama and will receive a private tour of the White House before the ceremony.
The White House Champions of Change program honors citizens across the country who are using projects and initiatives to move their communities forward. The honorees have each taken great strides to improve the lives of others through charitable work, faith and advocacy.
The child of hard-working Salvadoran immigrants, Bertha Castaneda was the beneficiary of an Opportunity Scholarship and attended Sacred Heart Catholic Elementary School prior to attending Archbishop Carroll High School in northeast Washington, a Catholic high school of the Archdiocese of Washington. In high school, she is taking a full load of International Baccalaureate courses, a highly rigorous internationally assessed curriculum introduced two years ago. She has a curious, questing spirit, and she has taken advantage of almost every opportunity Archbishop Carroll High School has to offer. As a senior, she is on track to complete the I.B. Diploma in addition to her Archbishop Carroll High School diploma. She has been accepted at four colleges, and has been offered scholarships at two. Bertha’s success is thanks to her own efforts, her parents, the evolving programs of Archbishop Carroll High School, and the empowerment of the Opportunity Scholarship.
Bertha exemplifies the hardworking students of Archbishop Carroll. She also stands out as a student who has led by wholeheartedly involving herself in almost every new program the school has offered, and encouraging others to get involved as well. Bertha has been active in sports and student dramatic productions. She tutors as part of the National Honor Society and serves as a peer minister, seeking out students who are struggling with the social and spiritual crises of adolescence and counseling them. In addition, she, coaches younger students as part of the Augustine Scholars and started her own day camp when she was in 10th grade, recruiting neighborhood children to participate. On top of all of her extracurricular activities, Bertha has maintained a 4.07 GPA and like many immigrant students, Bertha serves as her family’s primary translator, handling bureaucratic responsibilities for her family that other teens don’t have to contend with.
Archbishop Carroll High School serves minority students with limited financial means and provides them an excellent Catholic education. Ninety-six percent of students in the last five years have been accepted to college. In the last five years, the school has implemented higher teaching standards, a more rigorous and data-informed curriculum, the International Baccalaureate Diploma Programme, co-curriculars that focus on academic enrichment, and a mentoring program featuring its own alumni.
The Archdiocese of Washington has 98 early childhood, elementary, middle and high schools. The teaching staff is made up of over 3,000 and the total student enrollment is nearly 28,000. Schools in the archdiocese have been awarded the U.S. Department of Education’s Blue Ribbon of Excellence 28 times.
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