Omar 2009 Graduate
Monsignor Scanlan High School
The Church of Saint Helena played host to Monsignor Scanlan High School's June Commencement, a celebration of the graduates' achievements shared by family, friends, teachers and several sponsors of Inner-City Scholarship Fund's Be A Student's Friend program. One of the largest secondary schools in The Archdiocese of New York, Monsignor Scanlan has nurtured Be A Student's Friend graduates over the years. Mr. John A. Van Rens and his sponsored student Omar Garcia were together for the occasion.
The son of Mexican residents of the United States who arrived in 1984, Omar and his family lived on a boat on City Island in the Bronx until Omar was 12 while his father worked at a boatyard. Once his mother and father had saved enough money from both of their jobs, they moved with Omar and his sister into a house.
During his high school years, Omar demonstrated a remarkable academic progression, moving through Monsignor Scanlan's Satellite, Regents, and Honors programs. Omar is also known for his generosity of spirit, having completed 300 hours of community service during high school. He has been an active participant in Monsignor Scanlan's "Midnight Run" program that provides clothes, food and other basics to the homeless in New York City. Omar has also volunteered in soup kitchens and works a full day each Saturday at Saint Mary Church. While working towards Eagle Scout, Omar became interested in first aid and learned a little about himself and all of us: "In order to change a community, a person has to change... himself."
This fall, Omar will attend the College of New Rochelle and plans to pursue its nursing program, through which he believes he can make the most positive difference. Omar is very grateful to Mr. Van Rens and for the way his sponsorship affected him:"Be A Student's Friend gave me the motivation to do better in school and in life, and made me realize that people are there to help."