It was about two years ago that Danbury High School juniors Wylmed Royers and Carlos Garayua came to this country from the Dominican Republic with their families. They didn’t know each other. They spoke very little English. When they each entered DHS, they said it was a little overwhelming, but they saw that with hard work and determination, they could do well and take advantage of the wealth of opportunities offered at the school.
In recognition of their academic success, Wylmed and Carlos were both recognized by the consulate General of the Dominican Republic in New York. On June 9 at a ceremony held at City College in New York City, the two received the “Meritorious Student Award.” There were 374 students chosen from Pennsylvania, Connecticut, New Jersey, New York and Rhode Island. Ronald Caba, a student at Henry Abbott Technical School in Danbury, also received the award.
Since 1997 the program has recognized thousands of extraordinary Dominican students who have excelled and earned the highest grades on the state standardized tests, exceptional performance in class assignments, discussions, projects and sportsmanship. Carlos has a GPA of 3.9 and Wylmed’s GPA is 3.6. Both play baseball and are active with the school’s Latino Club.
DHS counselor Claudia DeMoura nominated the teens for the award.
“I thought of them right away,” DeMoura said. “They are incredible.”
Both students said they were nervous when they started DHS, but the teachers and staff worked hard to make them feel at home.
“I never imagined this – this was a very good experience,” Carlos said of receiving the award.
“It was nice to be rewarded for working hard,” Wylmed said.
The teens also said that learning English was a challenge, but they love the language. Carlos loves to read while Wylmed enjoys creative writing.
Despite their initial trepidation, Carlos and Wylmed said they love the high school and felt that the support of the teachers and the variety of courses have helped them become successful.
“This school gives us a lot of opportunities, and the teachers treat us without differences,” Carlos said.
“The teachers are fun,” Wylmed said. “They make the classes more interesting.”