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~Wellesley's Rosa Fernandez Writes Lead Chapter in New Education Book, Letters to the Next President~

For immediate release:
Jan. 14, 2004

Arlie Corday

WELLESLEY, Mass. -- Wellesley College first-year student Rosa Fernandez of the Bronx, N.Y., will be featured in a new book published by Columbia Teachers College Press in February called Letters to the Next President: What We Can Do About the Real Crisis in Public Education. The book features a prologue by actor and comedian Bill Cosby and an epilogue by the late Senator Paul Wellstone. Fernandez's chapter, titled "Journey to a New Life," is the lead chapter in the book.

"Various writers including parents, teachers, students, senators and public administrators have been engaged in an intense discussion about how to improve domestic education policy in the next presidential elections," Fernandez said. "In the chapter I wrote, my personal story is revealed through my experience at a small school in New York City and my participation in the creation of a small school in the Bronx."

Fernandez was born in the Dominican Republic; she and her twin sister immigrated at 14 to New York, where they joined their mother in the Bronx. Her experience at Manhattan International High School, a small public school, led to her serving on a new school planning team for New Century High Schools in the Bronx. There she collaborated with What Kids Can Do, Inc., on the 2003 booklet "The Schools We Need: Creating Small High Schools That Work for Us."

At Wellesley, Fernandez has been involved in the Latin American Concerns Organization and the Howard Hughes Medical Institute Science Mentorship Program. At Manhattan International High School, she was active in student government, State Senator Liz Krueger’s Youth Civics Program, School Leadership Team, NYU High School Law Institute and the Upward Bound Program, among other endeavors. Through her work at the Bronx's Discovery High School, she has served as a student leader on the school's Planning Team and has tutored and recruited other students.

Letters to the Next President is a collection of more than 30 letters that speak to the heart of public education, the future of American students and the need for an educated and engaged citizenry. Top education experts, elected officials, business and community leaders, teachers, principals, elementary and secondary students and parents discuss the shortcomings of current state and federal policies and offer suggestions for what can be done about it.

Just in time for the 2004 elections, the book responds to government directives and under-funded requirements for local schools and districts and reopens a discussion of critical issues in public education.

"I hope everyone has the opportunity to read the letters of so many voices about one of the most significant issues of our democracy: the education of its youth," said Fernandez. For more information about Letters to the Next President, visit

Since 1875, Wellesley College has been a leader in providing an excellent liberal-arts education for women who will make a difference in the world. Its 500-acre campus near Boston is home to 2,300 undergraduate students from all 50 states and 68 countries.


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