Rosemary Aquino

Washington Heights, NY

Education: BA Comparative Literature, SUNY Binghamton

Placement: Washington Heights Expeditionary Learning School

Rosemary Aquino grew up in Washington Heights, NY where she attended I.S. 143, which is now called WHEELS. As a young girl, her parents always stressed the importance of attending college and getting a good education to improve her life. Growing up in Washington Heights, she witnessed some of her peers not getting the support that she had at home. For various reasons, they ended up dropping out of high school and not being able to attend college. Unfortunately, these were students with bright minds and voices that were shattered due to lack of support and help from their teachers and the community. She knew from a young age that she wanted to become a teacher. Her aspiration was to assist kids from neighborhoods, just like the one she grew up in; to help them exceed expectations and succeed in any field they desire. She attended Binghamton University and majored in Comparative Literature. She was President and treasurer of Diverse Culture Xcellence for three years, an organization that strived to advocate for diversity and inclusion on campus between Binghamton University students and the Binghamton community. While attending her Educational Opportunity Commencement, the guest speaker spoke about a word that was integral to her convictions. The word is from the Akan tribe in Ghana: “Sankofa,” which translates to “reach back and get it” or “it is not taboo to go back, and get what is at risk of being left behind.” This had a profound impact on her mindset, so much so, that when she started college her thoughts were just on “getting out of the hood.” Now, understanding the meaning of Sankofa, she knows how important it is for us to go back and learn about our history, as well as moving our community forward. She knew Blue Engine would be the perfect place for her to give back to her community.

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