From Student to Teacher

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One of nine children, Concepcion Bosque lived in a three bedroom apartment in Southside. Her father worked two jobs tirelessly, to ensure his wife and children were taken care of. Concepcion and her siblings were raised with the values of hard work, discipline, education and productivity, which could then lead to happiness and success. While many of Concepcion’s classmates spent their afternoons in parks or hanging out on the street, she states “her parents raised us that the street was not a place to play. So we basically went to school…. I was probably 14, yeah probably 13 or 14. So I got a job in a factory where clothes were bought. So I was putting plastic on the clothes. So I did that little job from 3-5 or something like that.” After working in a factory, Concepcion was offered a job at Nuestros Ninos Child Development Center, where she would drop off and pick up her little sister daily. In 1984, by the age of 14, she was working as a Summer Youth there. This became a year round job. The other people who worked at the center became an extremely strong support system for Concepcion, she even went as far as to call them her second family. The founder of the center, John Mulhern, along with other members of this “extended family” encouraged Concepcion to continue pursuing and investing in her own education.

Concepcion came to New York speaking very little English, and therefore was placed in a bilingual class. When reminiscing about Eastern District High School during her attendance, her testimonies and memories align with a statement written in the New York Post saying “Eastern District High School had a fair share of ups and downs. As with many high schools in Brooklyn during the 1980s and early 1990s, the downs outweighed the ups.” [1]. The school was one of the first in the area to install a metal detector and Concepcion remembers lunchtime to be a chaotic setting with food being thrown all over, causing her to find refuge elsewhere. Lucky for Concepcion, being in the bilingual program meant that she was apart of what she describes as a school within the school. They had a whole floor of one of the schools buildings. She had a few tremendously supportive and encouraging teachers, more inspiring adult figures to look up to. In fact, she very recently reunited with one teacher who had an extraordinary impact on Concepcion, Ms. Sim. She remembers Ms. Sim to always made her feel just as important and worthy as the other students. When they met up after all those years, Concepcion told her “you know I never remember you treating me differently or because I can just imagine how I look just straight from… probably my hair not combed well and you know, who knows we got up and we went to school. My mother had already left to work.” She credits much of her success to the adults who were there to keep her focused on school and away from the activities of the street.

Concepcion graduated from high school, attended LaGuardia Community College, and then received her masters from Queens College. As Concepcion matured, so did her career in childcare. She became an aid, teachers assistant, and after returning from a missionary trip in Mexico, a substitute and then teacher all before the age of 25. Concepcion has been at Nuestros Niños Child Development Center ever since, where she is now the director of Provider Mothers, a family daycare program. If you were to look at common or reoccurring themes in Concepcion’s life, a major one would most certainly be the importance of education. She too raised her son and daughter with these morals, and her position and involvement at Nuestros Niños has allowed her to instill this message into countless other children within the community as well. 

One concerning detail that was not discussed in the interview with Concepcion was the threat of Nuestros Niños closing, which came about a year ago. Serving mostly low-income families, the revenue brought wouldnt be enough to pay for rising rent prices on the building it resides in. The day care center was saved when the city renewed its lease [2]. While Nuestos Niños is not currently in terrible danger of closing right now, the instability that many of the neighborhods long-time institutions as the neighborhood continues to shift is concerning. 

 

[1] Courier Life, "Eastern District H.S. lives on in the hearts of alums," New York Post, Aug. 6, 2009.

 [2] Patrick Kearns. "Nuestros Niños will no longer close in November," Greenpoint Star, Sep. 8, 2015.

From Student to Teacher