Monday, March 25, 2019
Sebastian Acevedo has achieved his impossible dream.
When his mom told a guidance counselor at Sebastian’s Catholic grade school in Queens that he was thinking about applying to the city’s specialized high schools, the counselor chuckled, saying, “It’s practically impossible.”
“She said it’s not gonna happen,” he told The Post. “I was basically dismissed.”
But the remark only fired up Sebastian, 13, to prove her wrong.
While finishing 7th grade at Saint Matthias School, Sebastian’s parents — his mom, Kathy, a Ecuadorian immigrant and clerical worker, his dad Eugene a supermarket manager — signed him up at Kweller Prep. The company gives classes for kids planning to take the SHSAT exam, the sole entry criteria for the specialized schools.
Sebastian “did terribly” on a Kweller placement test, he said. “I remember crying after seeing the results. But it made me try harder.”
He took the SHSAT classes after school, on Saturdays, and over the summer, sacrificing time for his amateur boxing. His parents also made sacrifices to scrape up the $5,000 cost.
It paid off. Sebastian scored 568 on the tough exam. Last week, the city Department of Education offered him a seat in September at Stuyvesant — which had the highest cutoff score of all eight specialized schools, 557.
He was one of 33 Hispanics among 895 kids admitted.
“I worked so hard for it. To have it finally happen was just amazing,” he said. “It was a dream come true.”
Sebastian also got offers from Bard HS Early College in Queens, a highly-selective public school, and four private schools on scholarships. He has chosen Stuyvesant.
His new goal — sparked by worrying about his grandma’s heart condition — is to become a cardiothoracic surgeon.
As for college, he said. “I’m interested in an Ivy League.”
Sunday, June 15, 2014
Frances Kweller, CEO of Kweller Prep, a learning incubator specializing in advanced test preparation in Queens, New York, founded Kweller Prep after receiving her law degree from Hofstra Law School. She offers the following tips to women embarking on their first business venture:1. – Most women suffer from what I call “analysis paralysis”, which means they analyze the situation over and over again and then never take action. They have plans to do something, but don’t execute. Don’t spend time over-processing everything and take action immediately before you get cold feet.
1. Execute Immediately – Most women suffer from what I call “analysis paralysis”, which means they analyze the situation over and over again and then never take action. They have plans to do something, but don’t execute. Don’t spend time over-processing everything and take action immediately before you get cold feet.
2. Don’t Let the Math Scare You – If you’re like me, you didn’t take a lot of math in school and numbers make you want to run the other way. As women, we don’t want to look at a portfolio or profit-and-loss statement because many of us don’t understand the math. Take a class at a community college, spend quality time with your accountant, CPA and banker and understand how business loans work because you will need this information in the future.
3. Be Direct About What You Want – You need to be able to pitch what you want in 3 minutes or less. Learn not to be soft and get to the point to get what you want. Women tend to go in circles and are afraid of saying what they want. Being able to say what you want and what you are looking for is critical to your success.
4. Trust Your Gut – Many people will tell you that you cannot do something or that your idea is a bad one. If your instincts are telling you that they’re wrong and you’re right, trust your instincts. When they say “no,” move on from it and beware of all the free advice.
5. Stay Away from Business Partners – Particularly in your first business venture, a business partner is not only not necessary but an unwelcome headache. Your first venture comes with enormous learning curves and mistakes you need to make alone. You need to listen to your instincts and have clarity of mind to do so, unclouded by another party in the way.
6. Get Support – Join a women’s group, while reading up on building a business and about other women entrepreneurs to garner the support you need while building your business. Surrounding yourself with other female entrepreneurs will only help you on your journey in discovery and with a solid foundation while building your own leadership skills too.