“NBFA played a role in preparing me for success by teaching me from a very young age that you can truly be anything you want to be in this world as long as you put in the work.”
As the fire alarm sounded throughout the halls of New Beginnings Family Academy (NBFA) recently, a crew of firefighters came in to assess the situation. Thankfully, they were able to determine it was a false alarm. For Jacob Torres, a Bridgeport firefighter, responding to this alarm had a different kind of significance.
Torres attended NBFA from 2002 to 2008 and was in the public charter school’s first graduating class. Now, as a firefighter, he plays a vital role in the safety of our community. From entering a burning building to performing lifesaving services, Torres risks his life to perform heroic tasks every day.
“Walking through the same halls that I used to walk through in a school uniform, in a much different uniform now provided such a feeling of pride,” Torres said. “I am truly grateful I’m getting the opportunity to serve my community. That moment was one that I will forever remember and be thankful for.”
(Previously, NBFA students were required to wear uniforms. Under the current emotionally responsive practice approach, students no longer need to wear them.)
Torres gives a tour of the fire engine at the Bridgeport Fire Department.
While he attended NBFA, Torres was inspired by his teachers and staff members. Torres recalls the positive language employed in the classroom that also helped to boost his confidence.
“During my time enrolled at NBFA, I was very fortunate to be in Mrs. Nathan’s class for not only one school year but two school years,” Torres said. “In that time, she always believed in me and pushed me to reach my maximum potential.”
At NBFA, we work to ensure that students have voice and agency and are able to use their skills and abilities to their full potential. This enables them to use their talents and academic gains in service to their community, just like Jacob.
“New Beginnings Family Academy is committed to providing all students the opportunity for success,” said NBFA Director and CEO Ronelle Swagerty. “As a firefighter, saving lives in Bridgeport, Jacob Torres is an ultimate example of a positive change-agent in our community."
Torres (Front row, right) listens to commencement speaker Stedman Graham at his NBFA graduation.
For Torres, nothing is more fulfilling than serving his community as a first responder. He gives back by helping the people around him. Torres represents the gold star for our hopes and dreams for NBFA students, by using his talents and academic gains in service to the Bridgeport community.
“Nothing feels better than responding to incidents in neighborhoods that I’m very familiar with,” Torres said. “To be able to provide a service to my hometown is a reward in itself.”
NBFA is more than a school for Torres; it means family. His time at NBFA also helped push him to make a difference. “No matter what you’re up against, goals will always be achievable with the right preparation and motivation,” Torres said.
Through support and mentorship, Torres found he could be whomever he wanted to be as long as he put in the effort. “NBFA played a role in preparing me for success by teaching me from a very young age that you can truly be anything you want to be in this world as long as you put in the work,” Torres said.
As NBFA enters its 20th academic year in 2022, we’re proud to have alumni like Torres making a real difference in our community. Bridgeport is a safer place thanks to Torres’ hard work and dedication.