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Mar 21, 2024 MOST Staff

Alumni Spotlight: M.O.S.T. Gave Miriam Macario-Rivera More than a Scholarship

“My first two years of high school, I went to the Immaculate Conception. When that school closed I was a little sad about it, but my mom was really keen on me going to another Catholic school, and we knew we had the support of M.O.S.T.,” said Miriam Macario-Rivera, a 2022 ST. Agnes Academy graduate and current Loyola University sophomore studying communications.

“I remember the first day I met Miriam. Her eyes were wide open looking at the school and she said: ‘Wow, this school is wonderful, I hope I can get in,’” recalled Leticia Mendoza, who works in the St. Agnes admissions department, and also serves as a M.O.S.T. Parent Ambassador.

“My answer was ‘YES, you can be part of this community.’ She is a wonderful young lady, enthusiastic and always open to learning and leading her classmates in projects,” said Leticia. “I always saw Miriam in the hallways smiling and involved in all sorts of school activities as well.”

But it took a while for Miriam to find her footing in her new school. A M.O.S.T. Scholar since Pre-K at Our Lady of Sorrows School, Miriam entered St. Agnes Academy at an awful time for new students, when the world was stuck at home waiting out a global pandemic.

“It was hard getting thrown into a new environment with people being distanced because of COVID. I was starting there as a junior and a lot of people had already made their friend groups,” Miriam said. “To tell you the truth, it was kind of lonely. I had never been the new kid before. But when we came back in person, I made a bunch of friends, improving my high school experience.”

Supported by her growing social circle, Miriam thrived at St. Agnes, throwing herself into Beta Club, Spanish Club, the school’s Thespian Society, and other clubs and activities. She also felt empowered by her teachers to succeed academically, particularly an English teacher named Sarah Phifer.

“We read the classics such as Jane Austen and Beowulf, and there was this one book called A Thousand Splendid Suns that really made an impression on me,” said Miriam. “Most of our time in class was spent discussing certain thoughts we had about literature, and her personality made the class interesting. She focused on us being able to write well, which terrified a lot of the class because she was very critical when it came to our essays and whatnot, but she was a great person and I loved her to pieces.”

Armed with a love of literature and a passion for theatre, Miriam headed to New Orleans to begin college at Loyola, entering as a freshman musical theatre major. After a change of heart, she transitioned to communications, which she hopes will open her future career to a wider array of opportunities.

“I just want to be able to get a job that suits me, preferably in a nice, cozy office with great coworkers. But I am always down for new experiences that will lead to me creating a stable, happy, independent life,” she said. “I'm not 100% sure what I want to do with my degree, but I do know what I want my life to look like once I graduate.”

While Miriam looks ahead to the many branching paths ahead of her, she also looks back with appreciation at the role M.O.S.T. played in getting her where she is today.

“M.O.S.T. gives students like me opportunities we might not have had otherwise, which is very important and very special,” she said. “But M.O.S.T. does more than that for students. They reached out to me regularly, checked up on me, and arranged events where I could get to know other students from different schools. In fact, during our year’s M.O.S.T. Senior Reception, I met this girl, Aspen McCraw who I had gone to middle school with. We were like: ’Oh my gosh, I haven't seen you in a hot minute! How are you?’ If it hadn’t been for the reception, I probably wouldn’t have reconnected with her again.”

“M.O.S.T. isn’t some random benefactor giving students like me scholarships,” she said. “The tuition support gave me the opportunity, but I definitely wouldn't have been able to get through high school, both emotionally and physically, without M.O.S.T.”

Published by MOST Staff March 21, 2024