Anais Zayas: Foreman Class of 2003
Current Job Title: MSW and Working on Womanhood Counselor- Kelvyn Park High School
Anais Zayas graduated from Foreman College and Career Academy in 2003. During her time at Foreman, Zayas excelled as a student was very involved in extracurricular activities. Zayas played girls softball and was a member of the flag girls team, she was inducted into the National Honor Society, she was involved with Prom Committee and even sang a duet as a member of the Chorus her senior year. Zayas ultimately graduated top-ten in her class.
After some time off from school, she graduated from Northeastern Illinois University summa cum laude with a degree in Social Work in 2014. After receiving her Bachelor’s degree, Zayas attained a Masters degree in Social Work with a concentration in Children and Families the following year from the University of Illinois at Chicago.
Zayas currently works for Youth Guidances’ Working on Womanhood (W.O.W.) program at Kelvyn Park High School. She facilitates school-based group counseling and individual counseling that works to improve the social, emotional and behavioral competencies for 7th-12th grade girls exposed to traumatic stressors and/or emotional regulation challenges.
Why did you choose to attend Foreman College and Career Academy?
Foreman was not my community school at the time, but Mr. Rassel met with my parents and myself to see if there was a viable option for me to attend. He saw my grades and attendance from my elementary school and saw I was a good student. He mentioned there was a spot available for the Honors division. He expressed the importance of the responsibility of being in that division and I knew I could handle it. I knew I would be challenged and thrive at Foreman.
Favorite teachers while at Foreman
Mr. Jordan– U.S History teacher
Mr. Jordan challenged me to improve my grade and saw that I had potential to succeed. He gave me tough love. Mr. Jordan left after junior year (I believe), but surprised me and other students at my graduation. He said “Barreto (maiden name), I KNEW you could do it”. This was right before we walked into the graduation ceremony. I was extremely proud and empowered by him.
Mr. Davis– Music teacher
Mr. Davis is the funniest and most down to earth teacher. He really sought out to build relationships with the students. Mr. Davis knew how to cheer me up if I was having a bad day. There was one specific day I will always remember, there was a difficult personal situation I was dealing with and I was heading into his classroom. He stopped me before entering, he knew something was wrong with me because I wasn’t my usual energetic self. Mr. Davis took the time to check in on me, encouraged me through it and gave me a hug. I knew he really cared. That spoke volumes to me. He also remembers his students, I attended my baby brother’s graduation from Foreman and Mr. Davis remembered our whole family.
Do you keep in contact with any Foreman staff?
I keep in contact with Ms. Maldonado. She is such a hardworking person that is passionate about the students she comes in contact with. During my time at Foreman, we didn’t have too much direct contact, but I knew she was a person who got things done and would advocate for students. One thing I remember at my time at Foreman with Ms. Maldonado was when one of my friend’s, Andrew, passed away unexpectedly. Ms. Maldonado helped us all in the grieving process. I remember we were all in one room together, very emotional and she cared for me during that time. Currently, we attend the same church and it’s still hard for me to not call her Ms. Maldonado- I have so much respect for her! She truly cares for the alumni and current students at ForemanHow
How do you feel Forman prepared you for after high school, going into the real world?
When Mr. Rassel saw the potential in me to be in the Honors division, I took that responsibility seriously. I made sure I was on top of my grades and there were a few teachers who really challenged me. I had leadership opportunities at Foreman that helped me navigate some of my strengths. The Honors and AP courses I took showed me the amount of work and time management I needed to succeed in college. If I could do it again, I would take more advantage of any tutoring or extra support for my writing. I felt I always struggled with it and it challenged me in college.