We are proud to share this guest post by Kailey Cazares about her experience at CAST Med High School, an SAISD Choice School that is part of the CAST Schools network, as part of our Student Stories series.
Where are you going to school now, and what do you like about it?
I am currently going to CAST Med High School and am a junior this year. Something I love about this school is the sense of community. The classes are small and, even though we just got a new cohort, we all, as freshman, sophomore, and juniors, know each other in some way or form. The teachers are always doing the best job that they can and, in return, the bond is a friendly yet very respectful one.
How is CAST Med helping you to get closer to your life goals?
I would say CAST Med is helping me get closer to my life goals because of the different pathways we get to choose. It isn’t even just my life goals—it’s also about just being a person. CAST has helped me open my mind to many different professions in the healthcare field. It just makes me aware of how to successfully achieve those goals that I might not have first had when I started high school.
In the past, what motivated you to change schools?
I was hesitant about coming to a new school with a bunch of new students, but what motivated me was that it was a new start. No one knew what my grades were or what I did or didn’t do. It was a new chance for me to start over and have a different perspective on the school system itself.
It helped that CAST Med specialized in things that interested me. The main thing my home high school had going for it was the fact that I have known some of those people since third grade; also, the electives were something that I looked forward to.
Then I think about CAST Med and how the classes are small and focus more on the specifics of the body or how we need to make sure things stay in check with proper healthcare. It made me want to go here more than I could say.
How did you learn about CAST Med, and what factors influenced your decision?
I didn’t even research schools—I only have one high school in my home district and figured I would just end up there with all the students from my middle school.
But one day I had gone to a Girls Inc. of San Antonio meeting, and there were people there advertising the opening of a brand-new school focusing on the medical field at Brooks, and immediately my attention was caught. It was closer to my house, as opposed to being isolated in the country where it was harder to get to.
The principal, Dr. Eddie Rodriguez, sold me on the school, and I begged my mom to sign me up quickly and she did. She was excited that this school wouldn’t just make me a number out of 3,000 and more students. My mom—and the fact that the school would have all these opportunities, educationally—really pushed me towards CAST Med.
What advice do you have for students in middle school who are thinking about choosing which high school to attend?
Some advice that I have for any middle school student having multiple choices on which high school to choose is to not be hesitant. Create a list of pros and cons and see which school offers more of what YOU want and like.
A reason I picked the high school I currently attend was because of what someone once said to me. She said, “If you are unsure about staying on the path that you have been on, then go with the other option. If you don’t like it, you can always go back to where you were. Just don’t be afraid of the risk, because the worst thing that can happen is that you don’t like it at whatever choice you made but you still have a backup plan.
What have you learned from your experiences with extracurricular activities and community service projects?
I have participated in many extracurricular activities and community service projects. Something that I have learned from every meeting is that—even though you may not realize it—it gives you this sense of security with yourself. It helps me understand that I’m doing this because I want to and not because I have to.
Do you have any thoughts about pandemic life, such as experiences you missed out on, or new skills you learned?
The pandemic ruined quite a bit of my dream for high school. I never had the first last day of school and I never had my first day of sophomore year. I missed out on the opportunity of having concerts and dances and saw how much my friends grew up during that year.
Many lost those they love and knew and became mature compared to when we were freshmen—which I understand is a part of growing up/high school—but it was a bit of a shock to me, because I felt like I had stayed the same despite the scares and lack of social events.
I would say that some new skills I learned were to be confident in myself. I was that student who would never talk in the Zoom, but thanks to the CAST Schools network I got out of my shell more and more, and here I am now.
Charter Moms Chats
Read More About CAST Schools
- “Guide to Enrolling in CAST Schools for 2021–2022,” San Antonio Charter Moms, April 9, 2021
- “Why Mentorship Matters to San Antonio Companies and the CAST Schools Network,” Katie Chain, San Antonio Charter Moms, February 25, 2021
Read More Student Stories
- “Dariela Galindo, Sophomore at Travis Early College High School in SAISD,” Dariela Galindo, San Antonio Charter Moms, March 2, 2021
- “Mia Rodriguez, Senior at the School of Science and Technology San Antonio,” San Antonio Charter Moms, September 9, 2020