Today’s Class: February 14, 2020

Today was a SHOUT OUT class!!!

This simply means the class mission today was identifying RECENT exceptional student behavior.  First recognition was directed to Lydia Watkins for the exceptional development of her personal brand and networking skills to create an opportunity for a meeting at the corporate headquarters of CVS Health in Woonsocket, RI during the Hope High Life Skills class visit on March 27th.   Lydia will be meeting with the digital beauty team about a 6-8 week paid summer internship!!    Second was Innocent Byiringiro for collaborating with Mr. Cronin to create a meeting with professional photographer, Aaron Usher, an architectural and Fine-Art photographer who shares Innocent’s passion for photography.   Mr Usher will be visiting the Hope Life Skills class on May 29th.  Next, Jarlene Carona for great networking with Camberly Mariconi, a Brown University volleyball player and pre-med student.  Jarlene followed her initial meeting with Camberly during February 7th Life Skills class with an appreciative text message.  Camberly is majoring in a field of study that Jarlene has an interest in.  Next step, Jarlene is planning her ‘ask’ to Camberly;  maybe a visit to the Brown University campus to accompany Camberly to a couple of pre-med Brown University classes.  Stay tuned!    Mariely Brito and Omayra Corporan have been selected to represent the Hope Life Skills class at this summer’s 5 day National Youth Leadership Forum on CSI and Law in Washington, D.C.  While the cost of going to the Forum in more than $3,000 per participant, Mariely and Omayra, if they choose to go, will go FREE OF CHARGE thanks to the donations of several Rhode Island companies who support the Hope Life Skills program.   Mr Cronin also announced he will be looking to select 1 or 2 or 3 more students with great personal brands to accompany Mariely and Omayra to the Forum.  Juan Severino was mentioned today for collaborating with Mr Cronin to get a meeting with Ed Ithier, the Director of Development at Southern New Hampshire University in Manchester, New Hampshire, when the Life Skills class visits the University campus on April 9th.   Ed Ithier was a star high school basketball player at one of New York City’s premier high school basketball programs, St Raymond’s High School in the Bronx.  Mr Ithier was awarded a scholarship to play basketball at South New Hampshire University.  Ed Ithier is in Southern New Hampshire University’s Athletic Hall of Fame.   And, finally, Josiah Diaz is collaborating with Mr Cronin to create a meeting with Sally Lapides, the owner of Residential Properties, one of the largest and most successful Real Estate companies in Rhode Island.  Josiah has an interest in Real Estate and asked Mr Cronin to connect him with a successful realtor in his network.   Sally will be a guest at the Hope Life Skills class on May 15.  Josiah wants to connect with Sally prior to her visit to Hope High.

Jarlene Carona (standing) extends her business card to Brown University’s Camberly Mariconi during the networking section of last week’s class when members of the Brown University’s Women Volleyball team visited the Hope Life Skills class.

David Narvaez (red fleece) speaks with Ed Ithier (left of David in the photo above) during Mr Ithier’s visit to the Hope Life Skills class in the spring of 2019.

Today’s Homework: February 7, 2020

  1.  Please tell me if there was anything spoken by the Brown University student athletes or coaches that made you think about your life NOW or your plans for the FUTURE.   If there was nothing any of the athletes or coaches said that made you think about what you’re doing now or plan to do in the future, it’s ok;  simply write “nothing, Mr Cronin”.   If there was something, however, the athletes or coaches said that made your reflect on what you’re doing or thinking about NOW or what you’re thinking about doing in your FUTURE, please share those thoughts with me.   This information will help me as I plan for other guests and the way I run our class.   Always trying improve the class to make it more helpful to you and your future.  Please send your well written response with perfect spelling, short sentences, and good grammar, punctuation, and capitalization to my email address before midnight on Tuesday, February 11, 2020.   As always, I look forward to your response.
  2. I was proud of you all today. You represented your brand and the brand of Hope High extremely well.

Today’s Class: February 7, 2020

TODAY’S class featured members of 2 Brown University Women’s athletic teams.

From the Women’s Softball team, Head Coaches Kate Refsnyder and Assistant Coach Karavin Dew and second baseman Kaitlin Okimoto, outfielder and pitcher Lauren Long, and pitcher Emily Waters.  From the Brown University Volleyball team, Assistant Coaches Katie Reifert and Eryn Riley and Outside Hitters Camberly and Gabrielle Moriconi, and Defensive Specialist Ashley Oelrich.

Our Hope Life Skills student hosts for this class were Faith Souza, Mariely Brito, and Ambar Tavarez.

Mariely (yellow blouse) and Ambar (right of Mariely) welcome members of the Brown University Volleyball team outside the Life Skills classroom prior to the start of today’s class.

After welcoming members of the Brown University softball team outside the classroom, Faith Souza escorts the team into the Life Skills classroom and then introduces each member to her classmates prior to the start of today’s class.

Mariely likewise introduces members of the Brown University volleyball team to her classmates.

Following Faith, Mariely, and Ambar’s introductions, each member of the Life Skills class introduces themselves to the Brown University women athletes and coaches and then welcomes them to their class.  Katelyn Taverez is shown above welcoming Head Softball coach, Kate Refsnyder, to the Hope Life Skills class as Nehemias Rojas follows Katelyn to do the same.

Innocent Byiringiro extends a warm welcome to Assistant Softball Coach Karavin Dew before proceeding to introduce himself and welcome other Brown University student athletes and coaches to his class.

Following the introductions and greetings, the Brown University student athletes and coaches begin to share their personal stories and perspectives about being a ‘student athlete‘ as well as their transition from their homes in Texas, California, Florida, and Ohio to the Brown University campus in Providence, Rhode Island.  The photo above shows the Brown athletes responding to Ambar’s question about balancing the rigors of athletics and academics while finding a little time for leisure and fun. TIME MANAGEMENT became an important topic of conversation as well as how best to manage the occasional stress that comes along with being a student in college.    “Exercise” according to softball second baseman, Kaitlin Okimoto Kaitlin spoke about the data behind the benefits of exercise and how running has helped her manage stressful times during the year.

Today’s Class: January 31, 2019

Our guests today were Ellisa Cox and Omi Hopper.  Both women are employed by Sephora,

a French international chain of personal care and beauty stores featuring nearly 300 brands of makeup products.  Sephora offers beauty products including cosmetics, skin care, body fragrance, nail color and haircare.  The company was founded in France in 1969 with its present headquarters in the French city of Paris.

Both women also have personal investments in other activities. 

Besides being a Manager at Sephora, Omi has her own makeup company called Bellisima (Facebook & Instagram: BellisimaMUA).   Ellisa is presently a senior at the Rhode Island School of Design (RISD).

Today’s host was Hope High School’s own makeup artist extraordinaire, Lydia Watkins.

Lydia Watkins (left) welcomes Omi (center) and Ellisa to the Hope LIfe Skills class prior to the start of today’s class.

Lydia introduces Omi and Ellisa to her classmates at the beginning of today’s class.

Following Lydia’s introductions, students welcome Omi and Elissa to Hope High and the Hope Life Skills class.  Jarlene Carona leads the way by greeting Omi while Kately Taverez welcomes Ellisa in the foreground.

Omi and Ellisa begin to share their personal stories of stepping out of their comfort zone to pursue what they’re passionate about, developing and using their personal brands to build networks of successful people which helped both women create career opportunities.  Omi and Ellisa also shared their aspirations for their future.

Today’s homework: January 10, 2019

  1.  After listening to Raymond during today’s class, please describe Raymond’s personal brand.  Use adjectives and descriptive statements which identify your perception of Raymond’s brand.   Send your well written description to my email address by Tuesday, January 14, 2019.  Please make sure your description is comprised of short sentences with perfect spelling, using correction punctuation (periods, commas, etc), and capitalization.   Thank you.
  2.  Complete and turn in this survey I handed out in class today to me at next week’s class if you want to go on our class trip to CVS Health corporate offices on March 27 AND our visit to Southern New Hampshire University in Manchester, New Hampshire on April 9.    Please write your answers neatly so I can read them.  Your answers will help me get the answers to your career and college questions.

Today’s Homework: January 3, 2019

Please let me know if you will commit to going on the following field trips.  Please send me an email stating your answer as either  “YES”, you will go, OR “NO”, you will not be able to go by Thursday, January 9th-  Thank you.

1) April 9th; Thursday –  a trip to Southern New Hampshire University.   They have some interesting, 21st century majors at this school (cyber security, robotics, engineering, 3D modeling and animation, finance, nursing, sports management, web design, unmanned aerial systems, sociology, graphic design, psychology, data analytics, international business, entrepreneurship, etc), and impressive support services for students.  The Director of Development is a personal friend who has been supporting our Life Skills program for over 10 years, Ed Ithier.   Departure time –  8am –  Return time –  5pm  There will be a tour of the campus.  Students will have lunch on campus.

  • Ed Ithier will have student and faculty members from the school’s diversity office and Learning center part of this event.      
  • SNHU students will speak about – 
    • their transition from their high schools to SNHU
    • time management – why time management skills are critical to success in college and life
    • what it’s like going to a college in the city of Manchester, New Hampshire, 2 1/2 hours from Providence
    • SNHU’s heralded student internship program
    • what are the biggest challenges and greatest advantages going to this university
    • what is the cost and how do you pay for this quality education
    • support services on campus that ensure students will be successful, i.e. graduate with a meaningful major and get a good paying job right out of college.
  • SNHU faculty will speak about –
    • expectations –  
      • what do professors expect from their students
      • what should students expect from their professors
      • how much reading should students expect
      • how much writing should students expect
      • what advice professors have for incoming students to SNHU
      • what is the ideal student/professor relationship for student success

PLEASE ALSO LET ME KNOW IF YOU HAVE AN INTEREST IN SPECIFIC COURSES OR MAJORS OR EXTRACURRICULAR ACTIVITIES; FOR EXAMPLE, MARKETING, SOCCER, ROBOTICS, ETC.  I will ask Ed Ithier if he can ask a student or faculty member in your area of interest to meet with you.

David Narvaez (red pull over) speaking with Ed Ithier (left) at a Hope Life Skills class last year.


2) March 27th –  Hope Life Skills Annual CVS Health Jobs and Career Day at the CVS Health corporate campus in Woonsocket, RI.   Departure time –  8:15am  – Return time –  2pm

Corporate executives will speak about the culture of this $220 BILLION dollar company;  what employees can expect from CVS Health and what the company expects from their employees.

Each student will pick from an assortment of jobs at this company they have an interest in.  For instance, cosmetics, pharmacist, graphic design, store management, digital services, marketing (collection and analysis of customer data that determines the coupons a customer gets when they buy something at a store, what specific store shelf a product is placed, what products are sold in individual stores because the same products you find in St Paul, Minnesota, may not be the same products you find in a CVS store in Miami, etc) logistics (i.e. getting products delivered from the factory the product is made to the warehouse the product is stored to the store in a specific city the product is sold).  Students will then break out into small groups to speak with a CVS employee working in a job each student has expressed an interest in. 

Lunch and networking with CVS employees ( conversations and business card exchanges).

Hope Life Skills students meeting with CVS Marketing Analytic specialists during the CVS JOBS and CAREER day at the CVS Health campus in Woonsocket, RI.   Topic for this meeting focused on a career in marketing analytics and the value of these skills in the 21st century job market.

Today’s Class: January 3, 2020

Today’s guest was

Abby Almonte. 

a business marketing and analytics major at Loyola University in Baltimore, Maryland.


Today’s Hope Life Skills host who welcomed Abby to Hope High School and the Hope Life Skills class was

Mariely Brito Leonardo.

Abby (left) and Mariely prior to the beginning of today’s class.

Mariely introduces Abby to her classmates to start today’s class.

Nehemias Rojas welcomes Abby to Hope Life Skills following Mariely’s introduction as other students wait to do the same.

Lydia Watkins greets Abby to the Hope Life Skills class which eventually led to Abby offering to connect Lydia with a CVS Health executive in her network overseeing cosmetic purchasing at the company. Lydia told Abby about her passion for cosmetics and make up.

Today’s Class: December 20, 2019

Today’s guest was former Hope Life Skills student, Hope High 2010 graduate, Georgetown University graduate, and present student in Columbia University’s graduate program in International Relations,

Marta Aparicio.

Today’s Life Skills class HOST, Ambar Tavaras (left), welcomes Marta Aparcio (right) to Hope High School prior to today’s class.

Marta began today’s class sharing her amazing story,

from her birth in Guatemala, meeting her parents for the first time in the United States when she was 11 years old, living on her own as a senior at Hope High working 30 hours a week to support herself all the while fighting personal doubt and persevering through an assortment of challenges, attending Georgetown University on a full scholarship, to being accepted to Columbia University’s esteemed graduate program on International Studies and receiving a significant fellowship

Ambar introduces Marta to her classmates to start today’s class.

Students welcome Marta to Hope Life Skills following Ambar’s introduction.

FUTURE FORUM #4: December 12, 2019

FUTURE FORUM #4 – a collaboration among a diverse group of caring corporate futurists and exceptional Rhode Island high school students looking to solve a chronic, societal problem while enjoying each other’s company topped off by some great food.   From left to right above, Sarah Cunningham (Rocky Hill Country Day), Nehemias Rojas (Hope High School), and Donghoon Ryu (LaSalle Academy) network during the day’s lunch.


Hope High School hosted its 4th annual FUTURE FORUM on Thursday, December 12th, 2019.

FUTURE FORUM 4’s topic of conversation was ‘public education’, specifically, Providence, Rhode Island, public education.

25 corporate ‘futurists’ from companies and institutions like DataRobot, Bank of America, Working Planet, Gilbane Construction Company, Harvard Pilgrim Health Care, Revival Brewery, Barclays Investment Bank, Alex & Ani, NOAA Office of Ocean Exploration and Research, Brown University and CVS Health joined students from Hope High School’s Life Skills program as well as students from Rocky Hill Country Day, LaSalle Academy, St Raphael’s Academy, and Juanita Sanchz High School at this year’s event.  Corporate futurists facilitated collaborations among small, diverse groups of students from the participating schools to create specific, near term improvements to the quality of education in the city’s public schools.

Arnell Milhouse, Inventor, CEO of Career Devs University, and Entrepreneur in Residence at Brown University’s Nelson Center and featured in the photo above on a hover board, was FUTURE FORUM #4’s keynote speaker

The FORUM’s keynote speaker was Arnell Milhouse,

Inventor, Co-Founder and CEO of Computer Science CareerDevs University, and Entrepreneur in Residence at Brown University’s Nelson Center.   Mr Millhouse began the FORUM leading a design thinking presentation that students used in their FORUM workshops to identify ways to address the critical needs of Providence students in the urban schools.

Providence Mayor Jorge Elorza opened the FORUM

sharing his inspirational personal story of challenges and success.

Mayor Jorge Elorza gave an opening address to start FUTURE FORUM #4

Providence Public Education has been an issue of concern in Rhode Island for decades” states Steve Cronin, the Hope Life Skills and FUTURE FORUM coordinator.  “The FORUM provided an interesting dynamic for Providence Public School students to collaborate with private school students, facilitated by successful professionals from a variety of industries, and create potential, measurable, near term improvements in their public education in Providence, Rhode Island.  It’s an opportunity for Providence’s public school customers, the students, and people in their personal networks, to create solutions to improve their public education.  It was very interesting  to hear what the customers, the students, had to say.

John Sinnott, a Vice President Gilbane Building Company, and noted graphic designer, Nick DeCesare, (Signature Printing Creative Director and Owner of Third Effect Marketing and Design) facilitate a collaboration among students from LaSalle Academy, Hope High, St Raphael Academy, and Juanita Sanchez High School to identify improvements to Hope High School education which could be implemented on January 1st, 2020