SPRINGFIELD, Mass. (WWLP) – Springfield Promise Program within Springfield Public Schools recognized Roger L. Putnam high school senior, Andrew Ortiz, for accruing $518,588 in scholarships from nearly 20 colleges.

The Springfield Promise Program within Springfield Public Schools serves every high school and its students in the district under the direction of Dr. Yolanda Johnson, the executive officer for student services of Springfield Public Schools.

Currently, four advisors are spread out through all Springfield high schools. In the four major high schools, Clarensa McCreary serves Roger L. Putnam Academy, Joseph Paige serves the High School of Commerce, Stephanie Girouard serves Springfield Central High School, and Alexander Serrazina serves the High School of Science and Technology.

Financial Aid Advisor of Roger L. Putnam High School, Clarensa McCreary said, “throughout a student’s senior year, we assist students and their families through the college selection choice process from FAFSA to enrollment, then attending college. Students are given access to many scholarships and we also help them apply for the ones they qualify for. “

Roger L. Putnam High School senior, Andrew Ortiz told 22News, “the Springfield Promise Program had me meet with an advisor or two to help me focus on what I wanted to do. They helped me look for scholarships geared toward my future. They went on a search with me for scholarships they thought I’d qualify and apply for. Along with being able to support me when I was down or overwhelmed.”

When students are accepted into colleges and receive financial aid award letters, they are logged in and each award is analyzed with students so that they can get a financial snapshot of what their potential monetary needs may be, if any, to attend the colleges they’re interested in. “This allows students and their families to make the best financial choice for their college education,” McCreary said.

Courtesy of Clarensa McCreary.

22News spoke with the parents of the high school senior, Andrew Ortiz.

Upon hearing of Andrew’s success so far at Roger L. Putnam High School and his recent achievement of receiving scholarships, Rosa and Mitchell Ortiz said, “Once Andrew has his mindset on something nothing can stop him. So to see the fruits of all his work year after year leaves me no words to explain how proud we are of him. As for the scholarships, we are grateful for every one of them.”

Andrew’s parents acknowledged how he always strives to achieve his best, “He always pushes himself to do better than before. For example, he took his SATs and wasn’t happy with his initial score, knowing he could do better, he paid the cost to take them again and scored better the second time around.”

Rosa and Mitchell Ortiz mentioned the Springfield Promise Program and how it benefited their son. “The program helps with guiding and informing the students as they apply to the schools and the scholarships each school offers. They serve as an outlet for Andrew to be able to broadcast his talents and abilities. One of the things that are great about the program is how they breakdown everything down step by step. Which allowed Andrew to see a clear picture of the financial part as he chooses which school to attend for his college years,” said Rosa and Mitchell Ortiz.

They continued to discuss how the scholarships will release a financial burden off the shoulders of Andrew. “They will allow for him to focus more on his studies and not be super consumed in keeping up with financial burdens. Andrew has always been concerned with cost and how it will affect him and us and for him to see these scholarships come in, it is a big sigh of relief for him.” 

Andrew’s top three colleges to study nursing are Missouri University, Westfield State University or Boston’s Emmanuel Collège.

Andrew explains why the nursing field interests him, “I always been fond of seeing how the body works and the functions.” Andrew currently works in a nursing home through a co-op with Putnam High School that has given him first-hand experience in helping people with dementia.

When Andrew leaves for college, his parents are excited to see Andrew complete his nursing degree, the man he will develop into, and become from everything he will experience in college.

“He has already reached high heights and is striving to go even higher and we are thrilled to see him climb this never-ending mountain of possibilities he has set himself on. Andrew has already shown us the signs of a great man, leader, and son and he continues to make us proud and shock us in his endeavors.”

Rosa and Mitchell Ortiz

Andrew shares what he will miss about Roger L. Putnam High School, “I’m going to miss the school itself, the teachers in the school have always been there for me, always in the outlet to speak to, even the counselors, everyone is always welcoming and happy to be there. Never once did I feel shut down by a teacher or shield away. They’re always willing to give extra help to stay after you or explain things one on one. I’m going to miss the atmosphere that came with the school and the students themselves.”

After college, Andrew hopes to work in an emergency room (ER) and eventually attend medical school.

Advice tips from Andrew for those in the college application and scholarship process:

  • Check emails from teachers
  • Speak with your financial advisor
  • Utilize niche.com to find available scholarships
  • You don’t like a test score retake it, such as the SAT. Andrew retook his multiple times before he received the test score he wanted.

“If you are continuously striving to do your best, you will receive what you deserve. Just don’t be overwhelmed take it one step at a time, breathe, when you need a break, sit down and have a break because piling it all on at once will just become overwhelming and you will shut down,” Andrew Ortiz said.

Students that are interested in the Springfield Promise Program, in which Andrew participated, have until June 1, 2022, to apply. According to McCreary, students who may have a financial gap in their aid, are encouraged to apply for the Last Dollar Scholarship through the Springfield Promise Program.

To qualify for the Springfield Promise Program, the following must be met:

  • Students must be a Graduating Senior of a Springfield Public School for 2022
  • Completed their FAFSA
  • Reviewed their financial aid award letters with their counselor
  • Be a U.S. citizen or eligible non-citizen as determined by the FAFSA

Watch: Full interview with Andrew Ortiz