Featured Alumnus: Alex Arango ’15
No one was as surprised as Alex Arango ’15 to find himself at the front of a classroom on September 1, 2021. He had returned to his alma mater, Covenant Prep in Hartford, to teach, coach, and mentor.
“The night I accepted the teaching position with Covenant I was thinking to myself, What did I just sign up for? I hope the kids like me. I hope I can get through the material. But then, on the very first day I had young kids clinging to me, and I knew that this would be one of my most fulfilling experiences.”
Alex Arango enrolled at Covenant Prep as a 6th grader when the school first opened. Its founders, Jeff Digel and Patrick Moore, had a vision of creating a tuition-free school where middle school for boys in grades 5 through 8 from underserved families in the Hartford area could thrive and step onto the path to a bright academic future.
“We lived right up the street, and when my mother heard about the school, she knew it was a much better option than Hartford’s public school system where I could get lost and overlooked. She knew I had strong potential and wanted to see me do well.”
In 2011, Alex was a member of Covenant’s first graduating class—a small group of only 10 students. From there, he enrolled at Avon Old Farms, thanks to the guiding hand of his 6th grade English teacher and her father, Dan Carpenter ’72.
“Carpenter, as in Avon’s Carpenter baseball field,” explains Alex. “Ms. Carpenter knew the school through her father, an alumnus and a former Board member, and felt that Avon would be a good fit for me, and so she made a recommendation on my behalf. I was looking at all of the Founders League schools, but it turns out that she was right, and Avon was the right place for me.”
Alex explains that Covenant and Avon share a lot of the same goals: provide a challenging and supportive learning environment; graduate young men who are academically and socially prepared for the next step in life; pursue excellence with integrity. Because of that, Alex says the two schools work naturally together, making his transition as a student easy.
“From the all-boys environment to the dress code to the rigorous schedule, these schools helped shape my character and values,” he says.
After Avon, Alex matriculated to Lynchburg College and then to Eastern Connecticut State University, where he graduated with a degree in business administration. He enjoyed seeing how the world works through the lens of economics, and examining how something small can have big impacts. He worked in sales for a while, but was finding it to be wearing him down each day, not building him up. Then Covenant called, looking for a teacher.
“The last three months have been some of the most exciting I’ve experienced,” he says. “Every day is different, and it’s never boring. I’m teaching history. I’m coaching soccer and next season I’ll be coaching basketball. I’m a mentor. I’m the robotics club advisor. Being a teacher has allowed me to experience so many new things, and it allows me to see the big picture.”
Alex continues to say that, of course, as a kid he couldn’t put it all together. But now, after returning to Covenant, he sees the deep impact academic institutions can have on youth.
“I was blessed to attend Covenant and then Avon, not only for the education they provided, but the lifelong friendships and support too,” he says, also sharing that he is the first and only Covenant alumnus to return to the school to teach. “Now, I have the chance to give back to a school that gave so much to me. No matter what situation I am faced with in the classroom, all I have to do is think about what my own advisor would have done for me, and I know how to move forward. I know how to handle myself, and I know how to talk to people. I have strong connections and people who I can look to for help should I need it.”
While Alex’s career in teaching is still young and he doesn’t know what the future may hold, he does know one thing: his time at Covenant has been rewarding.
“At Covenant, we start the day by giving out ‘Bro Boosts’ where you name another person and call out what they did that was positive. On day one, my students gave me Bro Boosts, and I think I felt my heart grow inside my chest. It was unlike anything I’ve ever experienced, and it was awesome.”