ABC of Wilton welcomes four new scholars
A Better Chance (ABC) of Wilton welcomed four new scholars this year — Emmanuel Bazile, Yanny Garcia, Alex Villanueva and Bianca Juca-Quito — who began their freshman year at Wilton High School on Monday, Aug. 31.
ABC of Wilton is a nonprofit organization designed to prepare “academically promising scholars for life in today’s complex world by acquiring a solid education and the work ethic to put it to good use,” according to the organization’s website.
With the help of nearly 150 volunteers and the support of Wilton High School and the Board of Education, ABC of Wilton has graduated more than 30 scholars from Wilton High School over the past 17 years.
ABC scholars are sponsored by local families, known as host families, who spend Sundays and one weekend a month with them. According to ABC of Wilton’s website, spending time with a host family is “an important opportunity for the scholar to experience the Wilton community by being part of a family.”
Emmanuel, of Teaneck, N.J., decided to join the ABC program after a best friend’s parents told him about it.
“Their daughter previously went through the program and not only got into a great school but enjoyed the process,” he said.
“My friend’s mother thought it would be great if I entered the program as well, which was one of the best decisions my family and I have made.”
Emmanuel said Wilton High School is providing him “a great opportunity for an excellent education” and has made him more interested in school.
“I have been enjoying my classes, which is a first. My teachers make the subject interesting and fun, which makes me want to be in class and learn,” he said.
“For the first time, I actually like waking up and going to school. I really enjoy every day here.”
Emmanuel said one of his favorite school subjects is geometry because it’s challenging, and he finds Biology II easy and ceramics relaxing. He said Spanish is his “funniest class,” but also “great because our teacher makes it fun to learn and I like doing my Spanish homework.”
Emmanuel, who likes sports and being active, said he also enjoys his physical education class.
“Almost any [sport] you name, I would have no complaints with playing it,” he said. “I just love competing and team activities.”
Emmanuel said he is surprised he enjoys his English and Western Civilization classes this year.
“My English teacher as well as my Western Civilization teacher makes class not only enjoyable, we learn new things, and I have a great time,” said Emmanuel, who wants to major in international business in college.
Emmanuel’s ABC host family is the Vogels, who he said are “very welcoming.”
“I thought I would be homesick, but I’m not so far,” said Emmanuel, who hopes to take away “a great education, a better future and become a better person” through ABC of Wilton. “These next four years, I believe, will be great.”
Yanny, of Lawrence, Mass., joined ABC of Wilton because the educational system in her hometown isn’t “as high as Wilton.” She said she is loving her experience at Wilton High School so far.
“It is a great school with challenging courses and many social people,” said Yanny, who enjoys dancing and has an interest in baby-sitting.
Her favorite class is Spanish Honors, she said, “because I love the feeling of being the only freshman in that specific course.”
Yanny aspires to work in the criminal justice system and said she is “interested in learning more about being a detective or FBI agent.”
“What I’m looking forward to most in the next four years is prom and achieving a 4.0 GPA, [which] I’ve had since seventh grade,” she said.
The Sudanos are Yanny’s ABC host family and she said she “loves them already.”
“They are so funny and treat me like one of their daughters,” said Yanny.
“What I hope to take away from my experience ... is the bond with my host family and resident directors. I also hope to spread my culture throughout the town and school.”
Alex said he joined ABC of Wilton for multiple reasons — the primary being that he felt he would have a better chance of succeeding in a different school environment.
“ABC has opened many opportunities for many children around the country, and I believed that I could be the next scholar to achieve their goal,” he said. “ABC is like the key that leads to the open door in the future.”
Alex said his first week at Wilton High School was “interesting” yet enjoyable.
“On the first day of school, I really did not know how things would end up coming out,” said Alex, who didn’t expect to settle in so quickly.
“I was able to quickly memorize my schedule and pinpoint where my classes are, and everyone is just so friendly — they are amiable and easy going. I enjoy being here.”
Alex, who hails from the Bronx, N.Y., said Wilton is much different from his hometown.
“Wilton is much better than most schools in New York,” he said. “It is an academic challenge and a better opportunity than most schools in New York.”
Alex said math is his favorite school subject because he enjoys the challenge of “finalizing formulas” and “finding new strategies to identify statements.” He is taking Geometry II at Wilton High School this year.
Alex said he believes in being well rounded. Outside of school, he enjoys playing soccer, baseball, football and reading books.
“Sports are like my second life. It is what identifies my personality — I am an athlete,” he said. “Reading is a passion that I have had since the second grade. I would always read books that are above my grade level.”
Alex — who aspires to become a stockbroker, lawyer, author or baseball player — said he is going to take the next four years “step-by-step” and try to create lasting memories.
“What I want to take away from this experience is [to be able to] look back and say, ‘Wow. Who knew that I had all this support to actually back me up?’” said Alex.
“Here at Wilton [High School], I am supported not only by the ABC scholars, but by the other kids as well.”
With the Etties as his host family, Alex said, “I really think that these next four years will be a blast.
“They are very friendly and easy to get to know,” he said. “They are very cool people.”
Bianca hails from New York City and found out about ABC of Wilton through her parents, who, she said, are “always looking for programs that could help my brothers and me reach our full potential.”
“The way our parents raised us made us all persevere to become the best we can be, no matter what obstacles there were,” she said. “The ABC program was the way we could do this.”
Bianca said Wilton High School is “incredibly different” from schools back home.
“It’s more advanced,” she said, “and I’ve noticed how friendly all the students are at school.”
Bianca said her favorite school subject is math, “because the answer never changes and you cannot have different interpretations of the same answer.”
“I like the certainty in math,” she said, “not the ‘Yeah, that’s a good answer, but what other answer can we get?’”
Although she isn’t quite sure what she wants to be in the future, she knows she doesn’t want to do anything that involves sitting in an office all day — “I need to move.”
Bianca said she is “naturally sporty” and will play any sport, although she particularly loves basketball.
“I also enjoy dancing hip-hop,” she said. “It’s a way of getting rid of stress for me.”
Over the next four years, Bianca said, she is looking forward to making new friends, learning about Wilton High School and hopes to get an internship.
Bianca is being hosted by the Cassaras, who, she said, are “really funny and extremely adventurous.”
With her host family, Bianca said she has tried “many new things — things I would have never been able to make my own family do.”
“They are an extremely fun family,” she said.
Bianca’s message to students looking to apply to ABC of Wilton is: “Do it — you won’t regret it.”
“You learn a lot from everyone and you get a new perspective of things,” she said. “It’s amazing here at Wilton [High School].”
Click here to learn more about ABC of Wilton.