The Day – Grasso Tech graduate with a big heart to pursue a career as a veterinarian


Groton – Sarah Cruz Velasquez, a graduate of Ella T. Grasso Technical High School, has always had an interest in animals.

She grew up surrounded by pets and was fascinated when she read informational books about cats, dogs, reptiles and other animals.

This interest has continued to grow over the years and she plans to pursue a career as a veterinarian and helping animals.

“I have always had a lot of compassion for them, so I would like to help others give them the best life they can give them and take care of their health as well,” said Cruz Velasquez.

Her school said the career was a natural fit for her due to her kind and caring personality.

Cruz Velasquez, 18, plans to complete his first two years of study at Three Rivers Community College and then move on to the University of Connecticut’s pre-vet program to complete his bachelor’s degree. She would then likely go to Tufts University to pursue her career in veterinary medicine.

At Grasso Tech, Cruz Velasquez not only built an academic foundation, but also learned a skill she will have to fall back on for a job in college: hairdressing. She was in the high school hair salon program to become a licensed hairstylist.

Cruz Velasquez, who grew up learning Spanish and is bilingual, said she developed her strong work ethic thanks to her parents, who immigrated to the United States from Honduras. The family now lives in Montville.

She grew up in a supportive environment where her mother always made sure that she put her schoolwork first. Her father worked hard to maintain the family’s financial stability and selflessly help Cruz Velasquez with experiences he didn’t have as a child, she said.

Since elementary school, Cruz Velasquez said that she tries to be as involved as possible in school, doing her best and talking with teachers about the different ways she could improve her job or contribute to the environment. school. In college, she continued her strong work ethic and did her best to get involved in more clubs.

In high school, she participated in activities ranging from dog walking and babysitting to choir concerts and exhibiting her art in performances. In her hair salon, she cut people’s hair and helped visitors to the senior center by pampering and styling them in the way they preferred.

She won the Cosmetology Excellence Award in her freshman year and excelled academically at Grasso Tech. She was among the best students in her final year.

Damaris Llontop, who taught Cruz Velasquez English II and Contemporary Literature with distinction, said she was a well-rounded person and a role model for others.

“Sarah has a strong work ethic and takes pride in everything she does,” Llontop said. “With her determination, positive character and skills, I have no doubts that Sarah will be successful in her future endeavors.”

Susan Manning, his junior professor of US history and contemporary sciences, said Cruz Velasquez “is bright and thoughtful and can be counted on to tackle any task with determination and a positive attitude.”

Cruz Velasquez said that although she learned a lot academically and through her profession at Grasso, the relationships she forged at school had the greatest impact on her. She said she tried to get involved with her classmates and help them as much as she could.

She said her older sister, Alex Cruz Velasquez, 27, had helped her develop the emotional understanding she had of herself and others and helped her become a kind and understanding person. She said her two sisters are role models and that her 21-year-old sister, who is in the military, is so strong and positive.

Vicki Smallwood, head of the hairdressing and cosmetology department, recalled how Cruz Velasquez’s eyes light up when she receives calls from her sister during the day.

“She is a caring soul who cares deeply for those she is close to,” Smallwood said. She added that she is compassionate, hard worker and reliable, has a pleasant and pleasant personality, and is passionate about everything she does.

Her family is important to her, and Cruz Velasquez said she enjoys being able to explore Hispanic culture, attend fun gatherings, and enjoy a sense of community.

“I really like it, and I’m really proud to come from a hard-working family who immigrated here and were able to pass this culture on to me and I hope that if I ever choose to have children, I would be able to pass that on to them, teach them and help them learn very important aspects of being a Latino or Latina, ”she said.

Her family is also proud of her: “She is incredibly resilient and determined,” said her older sister, Alex Cruz Velasquez. “Besides, she’s so sweet and like a light.”

Alex Cruz Velasquez said it was great to see her sister become the person she is today – someone who will make a difference in the world by caring about her and doing her best to help others. . “I just feel like she’s so good, and the world needs more of that.”

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About Hector Hedgepeth

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