Stancy Saji, Class of 2012 gazed around the hallways as she entered MLS for the first time since graduation day six years ago. She quickly walked over to her class mural, finding her name surrounded by her other classmates.
"It's definitely surreal being back here...I found myself looking at the aluminum benches outside thinking that I used to sit here after school and hang out with my friends. Coming back all grown up and not in my uniform is crazy." Originally from Bushwick, Stancy took the bus to school or got rides from her mom. "Along the way I would see classmates walking and getting off the bus."
After MLS, Stancy started college at St. John's University studying in their Physical Assistant Program. "I later transferred to York College in Jamaica which is ultimately where I graduated from. The summer before my senior year of Undergrad, I had an internship opportunity with now NYC Council Member, Barry Grodenchik, on his first campaign for the NYC Council. That was my first exposure to politics. I was groomed for the medical field all my life, so this was a whole new world for me. In my family, politics was seen as a tenuous field but I was just enamored by campaign life. I worked on that campaign for the entire summer and he ended up winning in the fall. This started everything."
She changed her major to Psychology and graduated, when she decided to work in government. Even with a background in Health and Medicine she was determined to get experience and find opportunities to find her way into this world. "In my senior year there was a posting for an internship at Congressman Joe Crowley's office. I applied hoping someone would notice me. Even with no experience in politics, they gave me the chance to learn more about what it means to work in government." After 8 months, she was hired to work with Congressman Thomas Suozzi, who represents New York’s Third Congressional District.
Stancy pictured with her 2012 Class Mural
Stancy remembers Ms. Boyle from her years here as a Lady Cougar. "Ms. Boyle was the P.E. teacher when I was here. I definitely had a soft spot for her...even though I was annoying in gym class. I played basketball and she oversaw the whole program. I always liked her sarcasm and dry wit...it was endearing to me. Mrs. Stohlmann is someone I remember, too. She was someone who was very detail-oriented. I took an Honors course with her and she was always pushing us to achieve more. Her work ethic of pushing yourself and being attentive to the small things influenced my work ethic."
"Sports was one of the things I looked forward to after school. Being able to talk with my friends and teammates...we all had great relationships. It was a great outlet for letting out frustrations and bonding with classmates." Stancy played Basketball for two years of High School and also ran for Track & Field. "I briefly did volleyball but that didn't work out for me," she added, laughing. Stancy was also a Co-President on the Student Council. "The Annual Walk-A-Thon was something we all looked forward to. I remember Walk-Man and walking around the school. It was a lot of fun to do something with all of my friends for a good cause."
Stancy spoke about how MLS's small size impacted her parents' decision to send her here. "The small class size was something my parents loved. Going to Catholic School my whole life, my parents loved the idea of me being one in 20 or 25...we got the specialized attention we needed and we felt safer in smaller classes. It was a family environment...there was camaraderie and safety in small numbers. They liked that I would get to know my teachers personally. The experience of being in a small school was good for me. I got to know my teachers and they got to know me...they got to know how I learned best."
Stancy works with Congressman Tom Suozzi who represents parts of Queens, Nassau and Suffolk County. She works in the District Offices, handling a legislative portfolio for Congressman Suozzi and managing different aspects of the district’s constituent services in areas related to the Social Security Administration, Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services, Internal Revenue Service, Housing and Urban Development, and the District’s Senior Constituency. "I oversee the constituent services that the office handles. People don't always know that the government offers help with immigration issues, getting visas, renewing passports, veteran issues, and other obstacles or unfair treatment. Congressional offices can help you navigate and resolve these obstacles."
One experience that stands out to Stancy in her carerr happened recently. "The current situation with the separation of families...one of the facilities the Administration was keeping kids in is in our District, MercyFirst, in Syosset. This was a challenging time and we were invited to MercyFirst to see how the kids were living. MercyFirst is doing great work and taking good care of the kids. The whole experience was just so eye-opening. We went to see what we could do to help expedite the reunification of families. We work with a lot of things that unfold on a national stage. It's really rewarding..the number of lives we get to impact is just amazing."
Speaking on her career and the experiences she has had working in government Stancy explains, "it is definitely an exciting time to be in politics...starting as an intern from Congressman Joe Crowley's office to where I am now. I am so grateful they took a shot on me. I appreciate every experience I have learned so far."
Thank you to Stancy Saji for coming down to visit us at MLS and for sharing your MLS story.
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