Roxio Ortiz 

When I was a sophomore, my mom received a call about SAS. We had never heard of ‘School For Advanced Studies’ beforehand but we both knew that the school I was attending at the time was not the right fit for me and that this was a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to start fresh somewhere else. So, I went to the Zoom meetings, took the placement test, and impatiently awaited my decision letter. 

At every step of the acceptance journey, insecurity took over. As I joined the Zoom meeting and heard Dr. Monteagudo talk about the success of SAS, I felt that I wouldn’t belong there, considering myself simply ‘average’ at my old school. As I took the placement test, in the back of my mind, I just ‘knew’ I wouldn’t get the score needed. As I opened my decision letter, I was mentally prepared to read ‘We are sorry to inform you…’ printed in bold. Yet, none of that became a reality. The moral of my story is that if I had let insecurity and the all too familiar “I’m not good enough” motto win, I would not have found myself accepted into the school I subconsciously knew would become my safe haven. 

Stepping foot on campus for the first time, I was incredibly nervous, but I started to realize that if I was there, it was because I deserved to be, and that applied to all my classmates as well. Since everyone comes in new at SAS, it was easier for me to find my group of friends. I quickly formed bonds with my classmates, teachers, and staff. Although the school was the smallest I had ever attended up to that point, the love and connection that it fostered in its students was anything but small. 

Suddenly, I found myself with a newfound confidence I never deemed possible. I applied to SGA and almost every club that would have me. I made speeches for the student body, excelled in my classes by asking questions, and found my passion for research through my MDC courses. 

All the misconceptions I had been told about SAS vanished as I witnessed my classmates and I become more involved than ever before. We had more opportunities due to our connections to MDC and our counselor’s ability to connect with us individually and offer scholarships, letters of recommendation, and so much more. We also had more field trips and opportunities to unwind than I had witnessed at any other school. 

People told me SAS was just academics, but in reality, SAS became the only place in my K-12 journey where I did not feel like just another number. 

All in all, words cannot describe how grateful I am to have taken a chance on SAS and on myself by applying. I owe the person I am, from the leadership skills I’ve earned to most of everything I have learned, to my teachers, classmates, and the opportunities I worked for these past two years. This place has felt magical and I would truly do it all again. 

From the bottom of my heart, thank you SAS. 

Roxio Ortiz 
School For Advanced Studies Homestead, Class of 2024 
University of Miami, Class of 2028