Our alumni are a testimony to the work that we do on a day to day basis in classrooms. While their scholastic achievement is evident from their high school performance and college acceptance rate, their interpersonal growth and dedication to the mission is highly evident and is truly outstanding.
Alumni Spotlight: Corey Punter
Corey graduated from St. Ignatius School in 2003. He then went on to attend Fordham Prep (’07). He earned a degree in Criminal Justice with a focus on deviance and culture studies from John Jay College (’12).
Q: Where did you grow up? Where is your family from? Do you have siblings?
A: I was born in Columbia-Presbyterian Hospital located on 168th Street in the Washington Heights section of New York City. During my youth, I was raised in Harlem and the Bronx. For the past ten years, I’ve been a resident of the South Bronx, Norwood and Fordham. My mother was also born in Manhattan but raised in Queens. She was raised by her loving mother, who was unable to survive breast cancer and by her loving father, a veteran of the United States Army. My grandparents from my mother’s side descend from the island of Antigua and North America. I have Hispanic ethnicity from my father’s side of the family. I am my mother’s only child.
Q: What values were instilled in you at SIS?
A: By the time I graduated from SIS, I had gained a great sense of independence and responsibility. One of the challenges inner-city youth come across, at least in my experience, is more environmental than anything else. When surrounded by poverty, crime and being limited to certain experiences, it makes it difficult and that much more challenging not to fall victim to negative influences. SIS helped alleviate those pressures and provided an opportunity to experience a positive environment during the school day, during eld trips, and summer camps. I learned to be responsible for my own actions and the faculty at SIS helped foster in me, a great work ethic. Unbeknownst to me, these skills became the foundation from which leadership skills grew.
Q: What is your current career, and what are your career goals?
A: I am currently the Associate Director of Admissions at Fordham Preparatory School. I am one of many who have returned as an alumnus to be of service to the Fordham Prep community. My career goals are to maintain a leadership role in education and advance my skill set to service the young minds of tomorrow.
Q: Was there a challenge that SIS helped you overcome when you were a student?
A: I have plenty of fond memories of SIS, like fun times during class instruction, math competitions during Ms. Herbst’s class, being awed and intrigued during Fr. Joe’s science class, successes on the football and soccer fields with victory dances to follow after each score. Choosing a favorite is very, very difficult.
Q: What advice would you give a current student?
A: I would tell them not to celebrate just yet. Work hard and ensure that they secure their seat at the high school of their choice, and to learn from those around you to be help you shape the person you want to be.
Featured Alum – Amaurys Grullon
Amaurys Grullon graduated from SIS in 2006 where he was widely known among faculty and students as the artist in the building. He went on to attend Cardinal Hayes High School and later received his Bachelor of Fine Arts from School of Visual Arts, where he constructed the concepts for future artistic endeavors.
Be it doodles in his notepad or drawings for class projects, Amaurys’ artistic capability was present even at an early age. It comes as no surprise that years later he is now the Founder of Bronx Native, a collective that “intends to highlight the Bronx through apparel, art and media.” A self-proclaimed and self-motivated entrepreneur, Amaurys takes great pride in being a native of the Bronx and through his art hopes to shed light on the culturally rich communities in the Bronx. Above all, he wants people to see the Bronx for what it truly is: a community full of beautiful people, culture, and history. He is literally and figuratively wearing the Bronx on his sleeves.
Over the summer, Amaurys’ Bronx Native was featured in a New York Times article highlighting artists, designers and entrepreneurs based out of the South Bronx. His commitment to the Bronx does not stop with Bronx Native but continues through his work with Hunts Point Habla – “a community-based project run by young leaders listening to residents on improving quality of life in their community.” Amaurys’ service to his community is nothing short of admirable and he serves as a role model for future SIS students to come.
Amaurys had the following words of advice on his recent visit to his alma mater:
“The more work, the more hours, the more passion you put into something, the more you will get in return. If you have something you love, if you have dreams and goals, then put in the work and make it happen. Strive, put in the effort and make it happen!”
Featured Alum – Hector Rodriguez
Hector Rodriguez graduated from Nativity Mission Center in 1984. He went on to Xavier High School in New York City and attended Fordham University, where he pledged Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity. He is currently an NYPD officer and knows what it means to be a man for others. Hector has been providing support to our students through the Kappa League, a program that provides educational and social guidance to male students in the 6th through 12th grades. The focus of the Kappa League revolves around the “Five Phases”, namely Self-Identity, Training, Competition, Social and Health Education .
Hector meets once a month with our Saint Ignatius students and graduates to discuss issues that they are experiencing in school. Each year, he awards a scholarship to one student who is most in need. He encourages the students to volunteer at soup kitchens and to experience life outside of Saint Ignatius School by taking recreation trips throughout the year.
Hector is teaming up with the Nativity Alumni Committee to do an event in January to raise funds for St. Ignatius School to provide a great education for future students.
“I just want to give back to the school that gave so much to me.”