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The Church of Saint Helena played host to Monsignor Scanlan High School's June 12th Commencement, a celebration shared by family, friends, teachers and several sponsors of Be A Student's Friend. Mr. John A. Van Rens and his sponsored student Omar Garcia were together for the occasion.
The son of Mexican residents of the U.S. 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 parents had saved enough money from both of their jobs, they moved with Omar and his sister into a house.
Omar progressed through Monsignor Scanlan's Satellite, Regents, and Honors programs. He is also known for his generosity of spirit, having completed 300 hours of community service during high school as active participant in the school's "Midnight Run" program that provides clothes, food and other basics to the homeless in New York City. 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 themselves."
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 grateful to Mr. Van Rens and the way his sponsorship affected him. "Be A Student's Friend gave me the motivation to do better in school and in life and to realize people are there to help no matter how big or small."
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