Achievement House Blog

Senior Shoutouts 2020 Blog Image Day 7

2020 Senior Shoutouts: Frank McConnell and Erika Black

Julia DeBald

Frank McConnell

     Graduating senior Frank McConnell always knew that in order to succeed, he needed to go the extra mile. He has been on the honor roll every quarter since the beginning of his Junior year and made sure he stayed focused on what was important to him. It is no surprise that after graduation, he hopes to continue working hard towards a career in the HVAC-R field. 

I started attending night classes before the COVID-19 pandemic, but they unfortunately had to stop when stay-at-home orders were initiated,” Frank says. “Since these courses require a lot of hands on experience, online learning was not an option in this case. Despite this, I am continuing to study and keep the course material fresh in my head, so I am ready to keep learning as soon as classes start again.

     Frank values that his teachers always went above and beyond to help his succeed by making it known how much they cared about his education. His Intro to Computer Science teacher, Ms. Carmela Curatola, encouraged him to take his Internet Core Competency (IC3) exam earlier this month because she recognized his potential. It was no surprise when Frank passed his test and received his certification. Ms. Curatola shares how wonderful it’s been to witness Frank’s consistent focus throughout the school year, and what an honor it’s been to have been his teacher. 

I realized early on that Frank is a person with a plan for success,” Ms. Curatola says. “From his respectful communications and consistent timely submitted assignments to having met him at the certification exams where I learned about his work toward attending HVAC school. Frank is a focused, kind and dedicated individual who has demonstrated responsibly preparing for his future. 

     Once Frank is finished his night school courses, he plans to accept an apprenticeship with Remco, Inc. so he can gain work experience in the field of his choice. Keep studying and working towards your goals, Frank! Your AHCCS family knows you’ll go far!

Erika Black

     Graduating senior Erika Black looks back on her time at Achievement House with a sense of pride and accomplishment. What started as a difficult beginning turned into a victorious ending. By fighting hard and recognizing that her efforts would be worth it, she is now able to hang a high school diploma on her wall; a symbol of how far she has come.  

When I first started at AHCCS, I was unmotivated, lacked the energy to complete my schoolwork, and often times felt confused,” Erika says. “With the help of God and the whole staff, I became stronger and accomplished the ability to focus and strive for success.

     Erika credits her teachers with helping her succeed through their willingness to slow down and make sure she understood her assignments. The bonds she developed with them is something Erika will always cherish. Her homeroom coach, Ms. Anna Berzins, shares what a pleasure it’s been to have Erika in class over the past 3 years. 

Erika is extremely kind-hearted, polite and always friendly to her peers,” Ms. Berzins says. “She participated in live instruction often and wasn't afraid to ask for help. She consistently communicated with teachers and she's always done her best to balance home life with school. Her motivation to succeed will take her far!

     Erika plans to attend the Community College of Philadelphia and major in criminal justice this Fall. After completing the necessary courses here, she hopes to move on to the Police Academy to work towards a career as a patrol policewoman. Erika shares why she’s so passionate about pursuing this profession. 

I want to promote change by being a good, positive policewoman,” Erika says. “I believe that I will speak up if a coworker or someone else in the facility is treating someone unjustly because of their race, gender, or being a part of another minority group. I know this path will allow me to make an impact by helping others.

     Congratulations, Erika, on all you have accomplished! We know that you will keep working hard to reach your goals!