Yashira Agosto graduated from Amistad Academy Middle school in the early aughts and feels the school helped set her up for success. Now she’s giving back to the community that gave her so much as a scholar by serving as Amistad Academy’s newest board member. We recently sat down to talk to Yashira to learn more about her. Check out our interview with her below.
Tell us about yourself! Where are you from? Where did you go to school? What do you do for a living?
I’m originally from New Haven, Connecticut. I was one of the first graduating classes of Amistad Academy Middle. I attended undergrad at SUNY Albany where I majored in English and minored in journalism. After that, I went to Northeastern University School of Law and earned my law degree. I currently live in Boston, Massachusetts, where I practice insurance coverage law; I recently moved back to Boston in December after spending four years living in New York City.
What inspired you to become a lawyer?
I’ve dreamed of becoming a lawyer ever since I was in middle school. I watched a ton of Law & Order growing up with my mom, and I loved it so much I became obsessed with the courtroom. I remember I used to pretend to argue in front of a judge. I also had a close family member who was in and out of the legal system, so I experienced first-hand what it’s like being in a courtroom and working with a lawyer. Even though my first experience with the legal system was negative, it’s what drove me to pursue a career in law.
It’s inspiring to hear you turn a negative experience into a positive one. Can you tell us how your time as a student at Amistad Academy helped you achieve your dreams?
Absolutely. The teachers and administrators at Amistad Academy made me feel like I could do anything I wanted to do — I could be a lawyer. They helped me believe that even though there wasn’t a lawyer in my family, and I’m from a lower-middle class family and neighborhood — I can still be whoever I wanted to be. Amistad Academy helped me with my entire college application process: how to get fees waived, find great colleges, write my college essay, and they even helped me pay for college by offering me a scholarship. It was great to know people other than myself and my family were investing in my future and my career – that was big for me.
Is this why you wanted to join Amistad Academy’s Board of Directors?
Yes! The biggest reason why I decided to join and serve on the board is that Amistad Academy gave me so much. It’s a rare experience that a middle school supports someone so much that years later — after they’ve gone to law school and are establishing their career — they still think about their time in that school and are so grateful for that experience. I wanted to do something to help and give back to the school, and I wanted to help kids have the same or similar experience I had.
Amistad Academy is lucky to have you on the board! Now, as an alumna, do you have any words of wisdom or advice for its students?
You may not see it or recognize it now, but the way your teachers and administrators are so invested in your education and your future will benefit you in the long run. I think one of the great things Amistad Academy does well is how seriously they take your education and your success. The faculty and staff will give you the tools to succeed down the road. Amistad Academy had a positive impact on me in high school and college, and I still think fondly of my time there.