Collegiate Stories

Success at Collegiate - Meet Akilis


 “Don’t settle and go with what you want.” That’s the advice Akilis Avalo values the most from his time at the Collegiate Charter School of Lowell. One of his biggest challenges was when he first arrived back in the United States “Coming from a different country…there was a bit of a language barrier, even though I was born here, I learned Spanish from a very young age, and writing essays in English was something I struggled with. I got used to speaking Spanish every day so that was a little hard when I first came. Also coming from the Dominican Republic the big differences are the grading system; here it’s more test forward, more advanced. The rest, pretty smooth,” Akilis says. He believes the Collegiate experience has helped him with his decisions regarding his future as well as improved his English skills and says, “in addition, my problem-solving skills have improved since coming here.

His strongest subject is math which Akilis says will help him “because I want to either go into engineering or business.” He has been accepted to a number of colleges, including UMass Lowell. It will come down to a decision between UMass and the Culinary Institute of America. Along with his love of math is a love of cooking. He may be using that business degree to fulfill his dream to “open a restaurant, along with my mom and dad and have the opportunity to make my own menu. Maybe Puerto Rican, Dominican, and Caribbean food.” Akilis appreciates the great advice he got from a teacher about not settling and to “pick the school that is going to make you the happiest.

Akilis is grateful for his “friends and good teachers” at Collegiate who have helped him. Collegiate has reinforced one of his mother’s most important life lessons, organization.  He says Collegiate has “helped me, even learn how to organize to study,” which will make college easier. His mother appreciates that as well according to Akilis, she often says, “Always be organized, and the rest of your day shall be organized too.

Congratulations to Akilis on his graduation! We look forward one day to dining at your restaurant.


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