Angelica Castaneda

Administrative Assistant
AngelicaAngelica said before she discovered Highlands Community Charter School she had lost herself.

“I was just stuck at my house before, doing nothing, for four years with my daughter,” Angelica said. “I was so frustrated. I didn’t know what to do.”

By sheer coincidence, Angelica happened to be driving by Highlands one day when she was searching for something more.

“My husband’s work started to decline because construction started to go down, and we needed to make money,” Angelica said. “My husband always told me that I didn’t need to work, but I wanted to work. I wanted to help.”

In order to help, Angelica needed to complete her high school diploma first because, because due to a technicality, she never took her high school exit exam.

“First I was sick, and then I had to move out of town,” Angelica laughed, “Then when I finally took the high school exit exam, and I passed, they decided they didn’t want to use it anymore.”

Fortunately, Angelica has a sense of humor, laughed off her misfortune, went on with her life, and began attending Highlands full time.

Even though Angelica had unusual circumstances, the staff at Highlands made the program work for her.

At the end of her enrollment at Highlands, Angelica did more than take away a high school diploma. She also finished her certification to be a manicurist, and now works full-time as our Administrative Assistant at Saint Rose.

“When I started interning at Highlands, the bosses just noticed me and liked me,” she said. “They saw how hard of a worker I was, and they decided to hire me on full-time after I graduated.”

Angelica said Highlands was the first place she ever worked where she felt included and like part of a family.

“It’s the environment. How everyone connects here, and everyone relates to each other,” she said. “You are treated like you are part of the family and you treat them in the same way.”

Although Angelica had originally planned for something different, she said her path now is better.

“Now, I feel freedom – like I have somewhere else to go rather than just being at home,” she said. “It’s like I found myself again.”

Before it was always a decision between work and her daughter. At first she stayed home 24/7 with her daughter. Then she only saw her daughter for a few hours every morning because she was working night shifts.

Now, Angelica’s daughter can be seen sporadically throughout the office. Smiling at everyone, waving, and holding her mom’s hand as they walk out the door.