Norelia Arroyo

Norelia Arroyo is a New York City Teaching Fellow. She is working as a second garde teacher in Queens. She graduated from Queens College in May of 2007 with a degree in Sociology. Today she is completing her Masters in Elementary Education at Brooklyn College.

Norelia was born in Spanish Harlem and lived there until the age of 13 when her parents decided they should leave the neighborhood due to high crime.  They moved to Queens where she has been living ever since.At the age of 19 Norelia left home on a missionary trip for a year. She was sent to HialeahFlorida to work with many of the Cuban refugees. Although the streets of Hialeah were also dangerous she was able to teach the Bible and spread the gospel of peace through out the tough streets of Hialeah.

When Norelia returned home in August of 1980 she decided to go to a school of electronics. There she studied and was able to find work in several companies. Her best find was her husband who was also a student in the same school. Norelia has been married for over 23 years and has a daughter age 17,  who is seen in the above picture, and a son who is 15. Both her children are honor students and her daughter will be attending HunterCollege this fall on a full scholarship.

 In 1986, after 2 years of marriage, Norelia and her husband Eli, decided to move to Puerto Rico. There Norelia worked for several pharmaceuticals plants. She started out monitoring the 60 foot fermentation tanks making sure the pressure was maintained. After that experience she was able to work her way up and work for the director of the pharmaceutical as his executive secretary.  Life in Puerto Rico was an exciting experience for Norelia and her husband; she always says that she and her husband were 'living la vida loca'.  In 1990 Norelia gave birth to her daughter Ashley and that's when they decided to go back to New York and buckle down a bit.  

Norelia never knew that her calling was to teach. After being a stay at home mom for 8 years she became very involved in her children's school as an active P.T.A. member. She then began to work for the Police Athletic League and realized that she had a way with working with children. On the advise of one of the teachers she applied for a position with the public school system as a paraprofessional. After nine years as a para, Norelia applied for the New York City Teaching Fellows and the rest is history waiting to happen. About to turn 48 this August, Norelia believes that anything is possible. Her advise to anyone who will listen to her is, "Don't think about how hard a goal may be. Just do what you have to do. Don't think , just do and you will reach your goals. When you think to much at times you talk yourself out of your goals because it sounds too hard, so... Don't Think, Just Do"! 

Norelia's next goal is to become a Marathon runner. She believes it's one of the best ways to stay in shape. She believes, "Hey if Oprah can do it, So can I"! Well, Norelia like you said, Don't think, just do and hopefully we'll see you at the finish line.