by Pat Silvia
Mrs. Melendez is in her first year as the Head of Guidance here in North Attleboro. She previously worked in Worcester as their Head of Guidance. “I enjoy working with adolescents,” she said, “I just want to influence kids and be a role model for them.”
She attended Assumption University for social rehabilitation counseling. “I liked Assumption because it was small; I got a lot of one on one time,” explained Mrs. Melendez. She continued, “It’s beautiful and was close to my home.”
The biggest influence in her Mrs. Melendez’s life was one of her high school teachers who guided her through the process of getting into college. This was a big deal because no one in her family had previously attended college, so she needed someone to help her. The teacher took her to look at colleges and guided her through the applications process. “The work that teacher did for me made me want to help other people and give back,” said Mrs. Melendez.
Mrs. Melendez explained that she is very grateful for what she has in life like her family, having a good career, and her faith. She is so thankful because life wasn’t easy for her at an early age. She is originally from Puerto Rico, where she lived until she was 11.
In a recent conversation, Mrs. Melendez recalled the day that she left Puerto Rico: “I was at recess when my mom came out of nowhere and picked me up from school and we left that day to come to the United States,” she explained.
Melendez and her mom left everything behind in Puerto Rico to come to the United States for a better opportunity in life. “All we brought with us was what we had on; we left everything behind,” said Mrs. Melendez, “It was tough because I left all of my friends behind and neither me or my mom could speak English.”
“We left domestic violence, and fled for our lives,” said Mrs. Melendez. She and her mom moved to the city of Worcester located in Central Massachusetts. She grew up in the projects where gang activity and drug dealing was a common thing. “You could open my front door and watch a drug deal happen,” said Mrs. Melendez. “I feel like the rough upbringing I had made me who I am today and motivated me to try harder in school so I could get out of that neighborhood,” said Mrs. Melendez.
“What motivates me is life in general. I’m not rich. I’m blessed to have what I have. Faith is instrumental in my outlook on life.” said Mrs. Melendez. She became the first person to graduate college from her family and is still the only person from her family to do so.
Mrs. Melendez spends her free time being a mom. She has a 13-year-old son and a 9- year old daughter. Her kids love basketball; she drives them to their games and is their biggest fan. She also enjoys cooking and is very involved in her church. She and her kids are in a church band where she plays the acoustic electric guitar.