Spotlight on Ms. Vasquez


(Photo Credit: Andrew Ye (II))

Boston Latin School social worker Ms. Ginnelle Vasquez was recently recognized by the Boston Teachers Union (BTU) with an Oscar.

Ms. Vasquez won the award for her participation in a working group within the Boston Public Schools department that created a video about directing a student support team (SST). An SST is a team of school staff members that consistently meet to discuss the concerns of students and ensure that they are learning properly.

In March, the BTU hosted a professional development event in recognition of Social Work Month. During the event, several social workers from across the state were presented with “Oscar” awards to acknowledge their contributions to social work as a whole.

Ms. Vasquez aims to help students with mental health diagnoses or those who just need to talk to someone. She tries to match the personal needs and wants of a student with healthy habits. Ms. Vasquez defines a good social worker as “a person that you can talk to about the things that are on your mind [and] will help you make sense of these thoughts or things that you have done or wanted to do in the past.”

Ms. Vasquez chose to become a social worker later in life because she remembers how difficult high school was without any support. After meeting with a seemingly unhelpful social worker, she decided that she could do better and changed careers in order to provide help to those who might need it.

After obtaining a master’s degree in social work, Ms. Vasquez worked for a Boston Children’s Hospital program that led her to spend four days a week at BLS before deciding to work full-time. About her job, Ms. Vasquez states, “The best thing is just […] being there for another person and knowing that that person can talk to you and identify what they need, and then seeing them grow in that moment.” Despite how much she loves her job, she says that it can be difficult, especially if she doesn’t have enough time to work with individual students.

Part of Ms. Vasquez’s job is talking with students who experience difficulties managing the stress of school. Despite the academic rigor of BLS, Ms. Vasquez feels that the school has a strong support system for people who are struggling with the school curriculum or have issues in their personal and academic lives.

Ms. Vasquez’s work as a social worker is essential to many students. She concludes that working with students is extremely rewarding. “It’s amazing [to see students’ progress], and I’m just very grateful that I am part of that journey.”