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From left to right: guidance counselor Malaina Murphy ’85, Joe Beaudette ’82, Judy Johnson Burges ’85, Rachel Porier Leveille ’00, Joan Irons Cronin ’87, James Sorrentine ’04, guidance counselor Sister Regina, Robert Williams ’87, John Mastrati ’06 and Chris Prazares ’93.

James Sorrentine ’04—a familiar name in the world of high school and college hoops—was back on the SRA court once again, but this time as one of several alumni who returned to Saint Raphael Academy’s Alumni Hall for Junior Career Explorer Day to share stories of their career paths.

James, the youngest alum to return for the event last month, is currently a bank mortgage associate and a basketball coach at Bryant, all while pursuing his master’s degree.  James shared his conviction that you have to make sacrifices to get where you want to be, but more importantly, “You have to be able to get through adversity. Be courageous with it, because that’s what ultimately leads to success.”

As many students will begin their college search this spring, he also urged them to be open when looking for colleges and find the one that is right for each of them.

Designed as a day to introduce juniors to a variety of career options, Junior Career Explorer Day is also a chance for alumni to come back to the Academy and talk about the sometimes-difficult road to a fulfilling career. Most are very honest about their experiences, and students ask thoughtful questions of the visitors.

Robert Williams ’87 openly says he had a tough junior year at Saint Raphael Academy in the 1980s. He was a talented athlete who played football and basketball, but was not very focused on academics. “I thought I knew it all,” he said to a group of juniors who listened intently.

His lack of attention to his academics affected his future. Robert said he ended up living in Prospect housing when it was an unsafe area full of drugs and gang activity. Eventually, he changed his life’s direction and began to work in resident services for the Pawtucket Housing Authority, explaining that, as a people person, it is the perfect job for him.

Robert also recommended that students take their involvement at Saint Raphael Academy and diversify themselves—meet other students with other interests, as well as help serve those less fortunate in their communities.

“It made me a better person,” he said.

He credits longtime Saints guidance counselor Sister Regina Brennan for being his “star” and the one who was most influential for him at the Academy.

A priority for Judy Johnson Burges ’85 is that she always loves what she does in her career life. She has had a varied career in social work—from training children who “age out” of the foster care system to working as a special education assistant with autistic children to religious education coordinator at her parish.

“What’s important is being happy. I want to be passionate about what I’m doing.”

Other alumni present who gave sound advice were Joan Irons Cronin ’87, Joe Beaudette ’82, John Mastrati ’06, Rachel Porier Leveille ’00, Maureen Hurley ’83, and Chris Prazares ’93. The junior class will attend another Career Explorer Day in the spring.

 

 

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