Provost Bob Golden, a stellar member of the Foundation for Excellent Schools (FES) team at the State University of New York at Plattsburgh, had a pleasant surprise at the start of the school year. As Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs, Golden's office hires lots of student interns. And sophomore Angel Acosta, a new assistant, had something unexpected in common with Golden: FES. Angel had been involved in FES during his time at Seward Park High School in Manhattan.
In fact, Golden knew Angel before he began working in Golden's office. "I know him from last summer, he was a student in a five-week intensive language program in Quebec," Golden said. Plattsburgh is close to the Canadian border, so French-speaking ability has sometimes been useful to Golden in his job. Golden was impressed by Acosta's command of the language, which he has been studying since the start of his freshman year. "He speaks [French] better than I do," Golden said.
Angel was a model FES student. He played football and baseball at Seward Park and participated as a peer mediator to help other students resolve differences, and he was active in his school's FES club. Angel was also on the consultative counsel, a group of students who represented the interests and concerns of the student body to the teachers and administration.
Jayne Godlewski, principal at Seward Park until she took the same position at Marta Valle Secondary School, another FES school in New York City, thought highly of Angel. "He had great leadership skills. I had every indication that he was going to develop into a fine young man," she said.
Seward Park's FES program was very valuable to Angel. "It was very, very cool. FES took us to Middlebury College, not many organizations would do that," he said. "FES is very helpful and very beneficial to schools."
After high school, Acosta still values FES principles and helps others by implementing them. He is leading a program to bring students from Seward Park High School up to Plattsburgh State so they can preview the college experience like he did. He is also a Student Ambassador, who takes visiting high school students on campus tours.
The rest of Acosta's time in college will be as busy as the first three semesters have been. He will spend the coming semester in Senegal as an exchange student to improve his French, and later he plans to spend time in Mexico as well. Acosta is looking forward to the program in Senegal. "It's cool because I'm studying other cultures," he said.
"He's a very ambitious young man, well traveled already, and he has lots of plans," said Golden. "I wish when I was his age I'd been as well traveled as he is."
During his time at Seward Park High School, Angel lived up to all the high expectations FES has for students in both academics and their extracurricular activities, and at SUNY - Plattsburgh he is continuing to do so. His recent history is a perfect example of what can be accomplished through following FES principles and practices.