As a young girl in Honduras, I would always sketch a two-story house with a big, green yard and an apple tree to the side. I spent hours creating tall buildings and rectangular bridges, inspired by a girl on television who figured out how to stabilize a building against the wind. I thought about how I could turn that two-story house I drew into a real home, one that would stand tall and strong. This is when I first began thinking about pursuing a career as an architect.  


Believing that I could find a better education here, my parents brought me to the United States when I was 6 years old. Today, I am in the ninth grade at the Global Learning Charter Public School (GLCPS). 

When GLCPS began renovating an old convent to create a STEAM (science, technology, engineering, art, and math) Center, I asked my technology teacher whether I could meet the architect in charge of the project. 

Soon, I had a hard hat on and was walking through the building with the construction team. With a beautiful view of New Bedford before me, I could see my future, like the new building, taking shape. 

The new STEAM Center, opening this month, has an innovation lab, science labs, music and art classrooms, and College and Career Center. This new space will give my classmates and me greater access to the materials and tools to explore our dreams — whether to become a software engineer, a graphic designer, an environmentalist or, like me, an architect. 

Jaslin Arita, a ninth grader at Global Learning Public Charter School, toured the STEAM Center while it was under construction, helping to inspire her architectural dreams. Credit: Global Learning Public Charter School

My dream is to one day build a house for my parents — maybe even that two-story house with a big, green yard and an apple tree. I also hope to return to Honduras to rebuild homes, strong and stable, like the ones I drew or sometimes built from blocks as a child. 

I feel fortunate that my parents decided to move to America and to settle in New Bedford. There’s nothing better than knowing the adults around me believe in me and are committed to helping me become whatever I want to be. That is what every child deserves and what I hope every child here in New Bedford has — the type of education that not only will help us build stronger homes, but will also help us build a stronger future. 

Jaslin Arita is in the ninth grade at the Global Learning Charter Public School.

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