The real test of a high school education is how it plays out afterward. CAN graduates are successful, hardworking, and are making contributions in diverse fields. Here are just a few of the many paths taken by Concept Alumni.

Alumni Spotlight
(Week of Aug 17, 2015)

Chris Gonzalez

Chris Gonzalez is an Alumnus of Concept Schools’ Horizon Science Academy-Cleveland and he graduated with the Class of 2011.

Briefly, describe your career path.
I'm currently revising the novel I wrote as my senior thesis, and so it is my hope that I can one day get it published. I started it last summer before my workshop classes began, and over the last year fiction writing has become my sanity. But until I can sustain a living from writing I need a day job, as most writers do, which is why I've chosen to work in book publishing.
What are you passionate about in your work/school?
My main driving force has always been books and writing. Books opened up worlds and my imagination when I was a child. I studied English in college, where I was introduced to phenomenal literature, so much of which has stuck with me over the years and has influenced my writing. Attending Vassar, a liberal arts college, forced me to push myself as a writer, and I know how vital it is to my future. Also, while at school, I made a home for myself at my college's newspaper, The Miscellany News. There I served as editor of the Features and Humor & Satire section, as well as Senior Editor and Editor-in-Chief. During my three years on the paper, my love for writing and editing flourished and I developed an incredible passion for the production process. By working in book production, I have a hand in making sure books reach their publication deadline.
Where is your career headed?
I recently accepted the position of Ebook QA Associate at Macmillan, one of the big five publishing houses in New York City. After holding an internship in editorial last summer and one in book production this summer with Hachette Book Group, I think I'm on the right track to joining a tight-knit production team.
How has your Concept Schools experience helped shape your success?
While attending Horizon Science Academy Denison Middle School and Cleveland High School, the English Department always had the strongest core. In high school I took advanced creative writing and an independent study of drama, I took a class on American short stories and AP literature—and those were just my electives! Without this foundation, I probably would not have seriously considered or pursued English studies and might not have wound up in publishing.
How are you a game changer? Or, how are you making a positive impact in your community?
I suppose there's something radical about attending an elite and predominantly white institution for college as a Latino male, and in the publishing industry I'm definitely still part of the minority. Further, growing up in Cleveland, there was a pressure to stay in the city for one reason or another (financial, family, etc.) But I wouldn't want other black and brown students to ever feel like they have to stay put if they don't want to, and that sometimes it is best and possible to step outside of Cleveland, even when it might not be the easiest action to take. I think if there's any positivity I could offer my community, it would be that.
What is the most amazing or interesting thing that’s happened to you since graduating?
So much has happened to me since graduating high school, but since it's most fresh in my memory I'll talk about graduating college. Before graduating I was worried about dealing with unemployment. I secured an internship to help provide me with financial support during my job search, and, taking a huge leap of faith, I signed the lease for an apartment in Brooklyn with my best friend at the start of July. So I guess the most amazing thing to happen to me since graduation would be that I haven't had to deal with being unemployed for any period of time
Your favorite Concept Schools memory?
There are a lot to choose from—book club with Mrs. Carter, creating science videos with Mr. Girard, Mrs. Humphrey's writing class, AP Art History and National Honor Society with Mrs. Cooper—but I think my favorite memory will always be the graduation ceremony. I was fortunate enough to be granted the title of Valedictorian, and I will never forget how all of my classmates cheered when my name was called. It was a nice way to leave a school that really felt like home for so many years.
How do you support and participate in the Concept Alumni Network?
I have to say I haven't been the most active member of Concept Alumni. Perhaps those of us who are outside of Ohio should form a network of communication. That might be cool.

Concept Alumni Network (CAN) invites suggestions for Alumni Spotlights!
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  • Been a role model for others?
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