Alumna Nancy Orocio with Condoleezza Rice and Spark Board Chair Holly Depatie

Featured Alum: Nancy Orocio

Spark alumna Nancy was named “Youth of the Year” by the Boys & Girls Club of the Peninsula. In recognition of this honor, Nancy had the rare opportunity to meet former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice. Nancy and Condoleezza had the opportunity to first get to know each other both at an informal lunch at Stanford and at their Q&A event for 200 people at the Circus Club in Atherton, CA. These early interactions revealed striking similarities. Both women have faced adversity in their paths to success. Condoleezza was born in a racially segregated neighborhood in the South and rose to become the first African American female Secretary of State. When Nancy first moved to the U.S., she spoke little English and lived in a one-bedroom unit with eight other individuals. Now, she attends a prestigious private school on scholarship and is looking forward to college. Both women are passionate about politics -- Condoleezza has held high political office, and Nancy now studies political science in college.

In reflecting upon her personal growth, Nancy attributes her Spark experience with changing the course of her life. Through her apprenticeship at a local hospital, Nancy became aware of herself and how others perceive her, and learned the importance of networking, shaking hands, and looking people in the eyes. Nancy not only exemplifies Spark’s hope for all of its students in her personal and academic success; she also carries on Spark’s spirit of community involvement through the tutoring program she managed at Sacred Heart Prep, her high school. Spark looks forward to many more success stories like Nancy’s in the years to come!

Spark inspires 7th, 8th and 9th grade students to succeed in high school and beyond by connecting them with mentors in leading workplaces and supporting their academic journey with skill-building and resources. By engaging working professionals and connecting businesses with local communities, Spark empowers the next generation to perform better in school, graduate on time and lead fulfilling careers and lives.

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