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Meriden’s Dr. Miguel Cardona: From Student To Administrator

Miguel and Marissa Cardona with their children Miguel Jr. and Celine on vacation in San Juan, Puerto Rico, July 2015. Photo courtesy Miguel Cardona

Miguel and Marissa Cardona with their children Miguel Jr. and Celine on vacation in San Juan, Puerto Rico, July 2015.
Photo courtesy Miguel Cardona

Lisa S. Lenkiewicz


Dr. Miguel Cardona, whose grandfather left Aguada, Puerto Rico (and the world of sugar caning) to come to Hartford to work in the tobacco fields, first became the youngest school principal in the state of Connecticut at age 27.  He now has just added another feather to his cap with his recent appointment as assistant superintendent for teaching and learning in the Meriden school system.

Cardona was also an Alma Exley Scholar—only the second recipient of the scholarship program when it started in 1997–created to “honor future teachers who mirror the diversity of the student population, understand students’ diverse cultural backgrounds, serve as positive role models for minority and non-minority students and provide a classroom environment that respects and celebrates a …

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Stamford Latina Could Not Go To High School, But Gets Her Degree


Photo: Stamford Advocate/ Jason Rearick

Photo: Stamford Advocate/ Jason Rearick

When Lesby Ruiz came to America to join her mother, she followed in the foot steps of many 13-year-old kids in Stamford: she enrolled in Stamford High School.

Her experience was a difficult one, however. A recent emigrant from Guatemala, Ruiz spoke very little English, something for which she said she was often bullied.

“I didn’t want to go,” she said. “When you don’t know the language, you don’t know how to defend yourself.”

Then, when Ruiz was 17, her grandmother got sick in Guatemala. Ruiz’s mother went back home to help care for the family, but the teenager stayed behind. Then, later that same year, Ruiz’s mother was diagnosed with leukemia. Ruiz, who was already working an after-school job, started to send money to her family in Guatemala.

“I decided to drop out of school, because I had to pay for rent …

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CT’s Technical High Schools-Preparing Students For Much More Than Just A Job

AnnabelleDiaz-VicePrincipal-PrinceTechAnabelle Diaz, Prince Tech’s vice principal

Bill Sarno

When Anabelle Diaz entered A.I. Prince Technical High School in Hartford about 20 years ago, the Puerto Rico-born teenager had a specific vision of what she wanted to achieve.

The Hartford resident’s goal was to earn a high school diploma and a license in hairdressing and cosmetology. These would be the tickets to take her beyond the tough neighborhood where she grew up.

However, along the way she learned that the Connecticut Technical School System is all about choices and options. The path she elected eventually brought her back to Prince Tech where she is now a vice principal, supervises 26 instructors and serves as a role model to Latino students. She also is on the verge of earning a doctorate in educational leadership with a focus on adolescent literacy.

Within the state’s Latino population, there is a growing awareness that …

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