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The Torres Sisters

“My first Holy Child memory is when I was four years old. My family visited the school when my sister was applying.  Ms. Bush walked right up to me and said, ‘Oh, are you coming too?’  It felt like she knew me.”  - Crislaurys Torres, CMS ‘14

Crislaurys Torres and her family came to the Cornelia Connelly Center nearly a decade ago when oldest daughter Sonia applied to join the CMS Class of 2007.  Since then, three of the Torres sisters have graduated from CMS, including Crislaurys who is now a first year college student at Manhattanville College.

All five Torres children, along with parents Jose and Sonia, entered the Holy Child community when Sonia began in the fall of 2003; three years later next oldest sister Genesis started her journey through the program.  While every family is welcomed, CCC Director Heather Raftery notes that a unique pact is also made with each girl.  “We promise every student, if you have the ability and the desire, we will find a way – a way to get you to the best high school for you, a way to get you to college.  Making that agreement is inspiring each girl to be her best self.” 

Carla Maza (CMS ‘12)

“Wherever I’m supposed to be, I’ll be there.  And I was definitely meant to be at Holy Child.” 

By the time Carla Maza (CMS ’12) came to Connelly Middle School for her admissions visit, she’d already attended five elementary schools. Forever used to being the “new girl,” she didn’t expect to stay long and never dreamed that she’d become a member of the Holy Child community. But that is exactly what happened. By her 7th grade year, Carla had created strong bonds with not only her classmates, but her schoolmates, one of whom inspired her to work harder for her future. “Katie [Casado, current 10th grader at Philips Exeter Academy] is a year older than me. She pulled me aside and said that if I wanted to go to a good high school, my 7th grade year really mattered. That’s when it clicked for me and I started working really hard. After that, my grades went up a ton!” Carla says, her face lighting up recounting the drastic improvement. 

Yerlyn Rojas (CMS’08)

“If I hadn’t come to school here I’d be an entirely different person.  Holy Child is a second family and home.  It is what keeps me grounded.  Holy Child keeps me striving and wanting more.”

Yerlyn Rojas (CMS ’08) always dreams big. “When I was in 8th grade I decided that I wanted to be the president.” Even though her dreams have changed a little, Yerlyn still approaches life with wide eyes and a limitless perspective. She graduated from Georgetown University in 2016 on a fully-funded scholarship, with aspirations to utilize her education to travel the world providing opportunities for under-resourced children, much like she was. “What makes me so special?” she poses, “there are kids everywhere with potential.” 

Dr. Andria Wisler, former CMS intern teacher and former CCC Trustee, knows exactly what makes Yerlyn so special.

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