Perla Castro, 21, of Ocean City, came to the United States in 2010, knowing no English. This was her biggest challenge, having gone to middle school and high school in Santiago, Dominican Republic. Castro, who is receiving an associate degree in communication, said, “It was a challenge for me to sit in a classroom and manage to understand, participate and be involved. It’s hard to think in Spanish and talk in English.”
She overcame this challenge by surrounding herself with people who did not speak her language, and little by little, grew more confident in her English. Her biggest challenge is one of her greatest accomplishments, as she is now a bilingual student.
Talking to Castro, you would never believe she learned English just five years ago.
During Castro’s time at Atlantic Cape, she served as a sophomore senator of the Student Government Association, was a member of the TV and Radio clubs, and organized and executed her own events for students, such as the inspirational speaker presentation, “Live a Fearless Front Row Life.”
She also volunteered at many events like Advisement Days, College Awareness Day and open houses. “My philosophy for success is giving. I give to the world, I volunteer, I donate, I work hard and eventually, I know the world is going to give back to me. There are two kinds of people in the world, participants and spectators. I’m a full time participant of life and I feel that’s going to lead me the right way.”
Castro hopes to work in either the political communications field supporting minorities and the Hispanic population, or as a higher education counselor.
“Graduating from Atlantic Cape means ‘go out there and be amazing.’ I didn’t get the chance to graduate with honors in high school, but I made it here and that means a lot to me. Opportunity really starts here!”
Castro will attend Stockton University to complete her Bachelor of Arts in communication this fall.