Today’s Class: November 17, 2017

Today’s guest was Jeff Sparr, Founder of Peace Love,

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Jeff Sparr is greeted by today’s class host, Nayely Furtado, before the start of today’s class

a non-profit foundation whose mission is to help people dealing with the challenges of mental illness.   From depression and anxiety to obsessive compulsive disorders (OCD),

Peace Love helps those afflicted by some form of mental illness to create peace of mind through art

and storytelling.  “I’ve suffered from OCD and anxiety since I was in college.  It took a while before someone suggested I try painting to help me deal with it.  So I did” said Sparr.  “Despite having no artistic training,

painting made me feel better. 

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Nayely introduces Jeff Sparr to her classmates to start today’s class.

I thought this might help others suffering from mental illness too.”  So, Jeff started Peace Love.

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Ayo Onajide welcomes Jeff with a firm handshake, good eye contact and “thanks for coming to our class” following Nayely’s introduction.

Today’s Class: November 3, 2017

Today’s guest was Nan Quinlan,

a professional training and coaching consultant and contractor.  In other words,

Nan helps people find and get the jobs they aspire to.

Nan also helps companies find and keep the best employees in their companies.   Furthermore, Nan trains people to maximize their BRANDS to find and keep the jobs they like.

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Nelson Castillo (right) welcomes Nan Quinlan to today’s Hope Life Skills class.

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Nelson does a great job introducing Nan to his classmates at the start of today’s class.

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Walter Jimenez greets Nan following Nelson’s introduction.

Today’ Class: October 27, 2017

Today’s guest,

Tino Chow, was arguably one of the most interesting guests

who have visited our Life Skills class.  Our interest in Tino was created not only his

passion for design and entrepreneurship

and his appreciation of the exceptional opportunities the United States of America extends to those who live here but also by Tino’s fascinating story of being

born in the fascinating Asian country of Singapore and educated in the Chinese territory of Hong Kong.


Jonasia Brown (right) welcomes Tino Chow to Hope High and the Life Skills class and gives Tino her business card in the process before the start of today’s class.

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Jonasia introduces Tino to the rest of her classmates

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Following Jonasia’s introduction of Tino to the class, the class approaches Tino and individually welcomes him to the Life Skills class. Walter Jimenez welcomes Tino with a smile, great eye contact, a firm handshake and a ‘thanks for coming to our class today’ greeting.

Today’s Homework: October 20, 2017

1.  This assignment is an important preparation for our conversation with next week’s guest, Tino Chow.   This assignment is similar to what smart, successful people do when they prepare for a job interview or attending a networking opportunity like you will do on December 5th at our Future Forum, i.e being prepared to create an opportunity for success.  As a result, please read pages 1 through 46 in “The Story of Singapore and The Change Agent Who Created ItTHEN, answer the following questions and send them to my email address ANY TIME BEFORE Tuesday, October 24th, 11:59pm.   This is a lot of information to read and digest in a short period of time. Here’s a suggestion  which may be of benefit.  Skim each page from page 1 through 46.  In other words, when you are assigned a reading with lots of graphics (photos and maps) and breakout text (some words on each page printed in a larger, bolder font) like this textbook, skim or go through each page JUST looking at the graphics (maps and photos), reading the explanation beneath the graphics and only the breakout words in the bold, large fonts on each page.   After doing this, you’ll have a basic understanding of the textbook story.  After skimming, you can go back to read the entire text in greater detail.   This is just a suggestion.  Now, here are the questions to answer after you skim the entire reading or you read the entire text.

  1. Go to page 51 in The Story of Singapore and The Change Agent Who Created Ittext book.  Read the characteristics of COUNTRY #1 and COUNTRY #2.  Then, tell me which country you’d rather live in.
  2. If George Washington is arguably the most important person in the history of the United States, name the person who is the most important person in the history of Singapore.
  3. The cost of an average automobile is $25,000 and the cost of a government driver’s license is $70 in the state of Rhode Island; the state of Rhode Island is one (1) of fifty (50) states in the country of the United States of America.  These two fees – $25,000 and $70 – make the combined cost for buying a car and paying for a driver’s license in Rhode Island is $25,070.  Let’s assume the cost of a typical automobile in Singapore is the same as Rhode Island, $25,000. (Tino will let us know on Friday.)  There is, however, a different cost for getting a driver’s license in Singapore.  What is the combined cost of a person’s $25,000 car and a government driver’s license in Singapore?  (The information to make this calculation is found by reading page 35.)
  4. The ANNUAL cost of tuition at the University of Rhode Island is approximately $14,000 for a Rhode Island resident.  What is the tuition cost of one of Singapore’s government universities for a Singaporean citizen?  (The information to answer this question is found by reading page 37.)
  5. The President of the United States is paid a salary of $400,000 a year.  Please state the annual salary of Singapore’s Prime Minister (a title similar to America’s President). (The information to answer this question is found by reading pages 27 and 28.)
  6. What is the official language of Singapore?
  7. Which country, Singapore or the United States, do you think has less graffiti on buildings, bridges and other structures?  AND, explain why you think your answer is correct.  (The information to answer this question is found by reading pages 31, 32, 33.)
  8.  What does the Singaporean holiday, National Harmony Day, celebrate?  (The information to answer this question is found by reading page 16, 17, 26, and 27.)
  9.  In which country, Singapore or the United States of America, does the average person make more money, live a healthier and longer life, and experience less crime?  (The information to answer this question is found by reading pages 14, 15, 16, 17, 19, 20, 26, 27, 30, 31, 32, and 33.)
  10. Which country, Singapore or the United States of America, would you rather live in?  AND, explain why you feel this way.
  11. Please send me ONE question you would like to ask next week’s guest, Tino Chow, a Singaporean, about his country of Singapore.
  12. Like the United States of America, Singapore has many different ethnic groups of people living in the country.   The three (3) major Singaporean ethnic groups are Chinese, Indigenous Malays (like the USA’s American Indians) and Asian Indians (from the country of India). The three (3) main ethnic groups in America are Caucasian (white), African American, and Latino (Hispanic).  America has had only one African American President in the 200+ year history of the country and no Latino Presidents, yet.  No Native American (Indian) Presidents, yet.  Please give me the reason why there is a better chance of Singapore having a Prime Minister from each of their three (3) main ethnic groups before their 200th anniversary as a country.  (The information to answer this question is found by reading page 17.  Read this page carefully and you can determine the answer.)


    Tino Chow (right in photo) networking with Hope Life Skills student, Travis Barbour, after sharing his personal story during a Life Skills class in 2014.

Today’s Class: October 20, 2017

U.S. Marine. Entrepreneur. Business owner with over 400 employees. Business consultant. New York Yankee fan.  Committed networker.  Non-Profit Founder and President of the Elisha Project.

A servant to those in need.

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Walter Jimenez (right) greets and welcomes George Ortiz, Founder and President of the Elisha Project, to today’s Hope Life Skills class in the corridor before the start of class.

 George Ortiz was today’s guest of the Hope Life Skills class.

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Walter leads George Ortiz into the Life Skills classroom and introduces George to his Life Skills classmates.

From feeding the needy on Providence’s street each Saturday morning to a future vision of a restaurant offering free meals,

the Elisha Project has become of community of giving volunteers addressing the needs of the less fortunate among us.

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Laisha Mendez welcomes George Ortiz to Hope Life Skills following Walter Jimenez’s introduction. Catherine Vosono waits to do the same.

Today’s Class: October 13, 2017

Today’s class began with a challenge.

Students were asked to determine our guest’s job by asking questions which he could only respond with a ‘yes‘ or ‘no‘ answer.

Today’s class was

a follow up exercise to our reading of the Life Skills textbook, “Questions“.

In other words, this class offered students an opportunity to extend themselves ‘out of their comfort zone’ to ask questions to a successful business person in front of their peers and teachers.   Not an easy proposition.   However, the student response was impressive.

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Rosa Rodriguez Ortiz escorts Sean Larkin into today’s Life Skills classroom while Rosa’s fellow students stand as a sign of respect to our guest.

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Rosa introduces Sean to her classmates

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Shakira Figueroa leads the class in an individual greeting and welcome.  Sean’s reaction was interesting.  “Your students made me feel welcome.  Good firm handshakes.  Great eye contact and smiles.  This was good.  Helped me relax.”

Today’s Class: September 15, 2017

Today’s Life Skills class introduced the protocol for future classes

as well as listening to the experiences of 5 Hope High School seniors who were part of the Hope Life Skills class during their Junior year at Hope.

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Mr Cronin introduces today’s guests as well as explaining the Life Skills class protocol for welcoming guests to the class.

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As students learned today, we rise in an expression of respect each time a guest enters our classroom to be followed by each student welcoming our guest with a firm handshake, eye contact, a smile and a personal greeting like ‘Hi, my name is Raul’ and  ‘thanks for coming to our class’ or ‘welcome to Hope!

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(left to right) Aimon Foreman, Imani Turner, Mohamadou Mbaye and Sara Jackson share their stories in Hope Life Skills.

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Yael Torres shares the story of his paid summer internship at CVS Health in supply chain management.

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Sara spoke about her experience as a paid intern in a Providence bookstore. Here Sara introduces several children’s books to a customer interested in finding a book for his young daughter.

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Imani, in the center of this photo in the green dress, spoke about her experience representing the Hope Life Skills class at the National Youth Leadership Forum on CSI and Law in Washington, D.C. this summer. Over 400 high school students from all over the world joined Imani for conversations and mock investigations and trials using the latest forensic experiences in this week long conversation.

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Aimon spoke about her paid summer internship at the corporate offices of CVS Health, a 180 billion dollar company located in Woonsocket, RI. Hope Life Skills students compete in an interview process for internships in computer programming, pharmacy, store management, supply chain management and graphic design during the summer following their Junior year Life Skills class.

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Yael Torres spoke about his internship in supply chain management highlighted by his meeting with CVS Health CEO, Larry Merlo, in Mr Merlo’s executive office.

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Photo of Aimon and Yael as well as two other Hope Life Skills students, Fernando Perez (brown suit) and Jose Orellana (blue suit) who were part of the Life Skills internship program and continue to work summers at CVS.  This photo was taken in in the CVS Health cafeteria. Fernando’s internship was in computer programming while Jose’s internship was in pharmacy. Sitting across the table from the Hope team is Matt Lague, their mentor at CVS.










Homework and Opening Day Notes – September 8th, 2017

The first day of Hope Life Skills 2017 was about introductions;

class goals, Hope student expectations of Mr Cronin and his class, Mr Cronin’s expectations of the students and stories about his wife’s cooking and his 3 children’s quest for success.   Mr Cronin identified the following Hope Life Skills objectives:

  1.  build student confidence and self esteem;
  2.  introduce and develop Skills for life time success:
    • personal brand development
    • networking
    • written, verbal and body language communication
    • collaboration
    • creativity

Mr Cronin also instructed students to

check out the homework assignment at the end of this blog.

Finally, Mr Cronin extended

invitations to BIF 2017 at the Trinity Theatre in Providence

this Wednesday (September 13) and Thursday (September 14) starting each day at 7:30am with breakfast and lunch provided and dismissal around 4:30pm.  First 2o Hope Life Skills students who request attendance at BIF 2017 will be accepted.  Students are asked to pick one of the days (Wednesday or Thursday) to attend.


One of the 12 daily story tellers sharing their personal story of challenges and success to the Trinity Theatre audience at BIF

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Hope Life Skills students ‘networking’ at BIF during lunch

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Hope Life Skills students Fernando Garcia (right) and Gisabel Salcedo (left) with one of the BIF storytellers during lunch.



  1. each student to email Mr Cronin either asking for a ticket to either this Wednesday or Thursday at BIF 2017 at the Trinity Theatre in Providence OR informing Mr Cronin you are unable or not interested in attending BIF 2017. First to email Mr Cronin will be the first students to be given tickets to attend.  Please send your request to attend to Mr Cronin by Sunday, September 10 at 5pm.  On Monday, September 11th before 12pm, Mr Cronin will send an email to students interested in BIF 2017 the day they can attend.  Students should email Mr Cronin – – with any questions.
  2. each student to fill out their business card information on the sheet of paper distributed in class and hand in to Mr Cronin next class (September 15).
  3. Next week’s class will be in Room 112.



Today’s Class: May 26th, 2017

Today’s guest was Manny Rivas, Hope High 2016 graduate,

a 2015 Life Skills graduate, and present Providence College business and marketing major in his sophomore year.   Today’s Hope Life Skills host was Laisha Mendez.

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Laisha Mendez introduces Providence College sophomore, Manny Rivas, to the Life Skills class.

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Manny responds to Zidany Fatuda‘s (orange sweatshirt) question

Manny spoke about his freshman year experience at Providence College.  “If I could recommend a few things,

I would encourage your students, Mr Cronin, to be more focused on math, reading and writing while they’re in high school.  

Math class is intense at Providence College.  And, my professors are assigning a few books a week to read!   I’m always writing tooYour Hope Life Skills students really need to be more serious about their math, reading and writing courses while they’re still at Hope High School if they want to be successful in college.

Manny described his college experience, his roommate and how and why he decided upon Providence College.  “I’ve established a schedule I follow every class day;  a time to study, go to class and have fun. I have a diverse network.  My college roommate is white, from Connecticut, from a very rich family.  He’s become one of my best friends!

Providence College is looking for qualified students of color.  Providence College understands the value of a diverse student community

and they’re offering college scholarships to create a diverse Providence College.  I encourage all of you today to push out of your comfort zone to meet new people, regardless of their ethnic group or income level.  

Today’s Class: May 19th, 2017

The Hope Life  Skills guest protocol was cancelled for today’s class!

No formal greeting with the standard Hope Life Skills extended handshake, confident eye contact, and disarming smile followed by  ‘welcome to Hope High School‘ by the day’s Life Skills student host outside the classroom in the school corridor for this day’s guest.  No escort into the classroom.

No formal introduction by the day’s Hope Life Skills student host to the class.

A few students entering the classroom who saw the stranger sitting in the shadows of a corner of the classroom went up to extend a handshake and say ‘hello’.   The

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