Courtesy of Darwin Soto
It was 4:46 pm when I walked into Carla Bethancourt ’s apartment, which was mostly empty except for a bed and some chairs because she is getting ready to move to Brookline. She walked out of her room in her casual, comfortable, home clothes. 
Bethancourt went to West Roxbury Academy for high school. She moved to an apartment building in Hyde Park—where I also live—when she was 20-years-old. “I moved to Hyde Park because it was more peaceful. It was a bigger apartment, and since I was still going to school I liked the fact it was closer to the train station,” she said. 
When she first moved into the building 10 years ago, she started to notice bad things such as neighbors playing loud music and the stairs being dirty. “I don't remember how many neighbors I’ve had or how many times I had to call 911 on them to put the music down,” she said. 
Bethancourt tried to fix the loud music issue herself. “I've spoken to the Hyde Park committee and gave them information about what's going on in my building specifically, but none of that worked,” she said. Instead, she just got used to the music and decided to ignore it until she moves out.
Bethancourt is now 30-years-old and works full-time at Bank of America. Before she got to where she is in life right now, she struggled a little bit by working at Stop & Shop and many other low-paying jobs. She is now looking forward to a new start in Brookline. “Hopefully my neighbors are great,” she joked.


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Courtesy of Winnie Ruan
When I entered the room, my math teacher Jillian Kilcoyne looked like she was prepared, standing tall and confident. She was wearing something professional, a shirt and a skirt, and sitting on her desk looking ready with her hands crossed.
Kilcoyne is originally from Worcester. Her first job was a cashier at Walgreens. 
“I went to a private school in Worcester for high school and Emmanuel College,” she said. Kilcoyne studied education and math because she was very passionate about studying and teaching math when she was younger. 
At one point, Kilcoyne wanted to quit during college. 
“I wanted to drop education and didn’t want to become a teacher anymore because mathematics was a lot of work and it was very difficult,” she said. “A lot of my friends supported me so I continued.”
She is currently teaching ninth graders at the Josiah Quincy Upper School. I had her twice for eighth and ninth grade so I’m kind of close with her. She is nice and cares about the students by asking, “How are you doing?” and “Are you okay?” She sometimes buys us candy and snacks. Being a teacher needs a lot of patience, which she has, but teaching freshmen is quite interesting. She tries her best to teach new things to the class and get them developed for the future. 
At the end of the interview, I thanked Kilcoyne again. After, she started putting some of the chairs up that weren’t already on the tables. Then, she erased the whiteboard. She went back on her laptop and continued doing stuff that teachers do.
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Courtesy of Jessie Li
As Michael Hanson walks into the photography lab filled with iMacs, he sits down at his usual desk located at the center of the room.  His tall figure defines him as a football player in a photography lab. As we start talking, I learn that one of his favorite quotes is, “Discipline equals freedom,” from a writer he follows. Hanson explained that the more disciplined you are, the more you're able to stay on schedule. As a photography teacher and a football coach at North Quincy High School, the most challenging part of his career is time management. 
There never seems to be enough time for him to introduce different assignments to students therefore, he has to modify lesson plans. With the lesson plans, grading, staging shows, and student’s artwork events, Hanson said he “wished there [were] more hours in the day.”
To ensure he has more time, Hanson follows an efficient daily schedule. He usually prepares for the day the night before. Having a busy morning, he wakes up early and brings his three children to school before going to work. His afterschool schedule varies at different times of the school year. For instance, in the fall he’s the position coach of varsity football and offensive coordinator for the JV’s.
Despite the busy schedule, he still has priorities. “My main goal is to help each student become a stronger, more creative communicator,” said Hanson. With the understanding that not every one of his students is going into the arts, the classes he teaches can provide useful life skills that can apply to any career path. Students can communicate their personal and unique ideas using the art he teaches, and he believes that any art is the artist trying to convey an idea to the audiences. The arts also encourage a person’s creativity. Hanson believes his students should explore topics they are personally interested in. “The best way to ensure success and creativity is to chase what you’re really into,” he said.
What inspires Hanson is many of his great teachers and coaches. They shaped the course of Hanson’s life and provided redirection when he needed it. Hanson believes being a teacher simply means being a positive presence in other people’s lives. “It really is the great occupation I can think of,” Hanson said. 


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Courtesy of Wendy Zhu
I met up with Jaden Fergus at the gym in the middle of Boston Latin Academy (BLA), and we walked to the upper library to find a quiet place for the interview. He was wearing a black Anti-Social Social Club hoodie and khakis. We pulled chairs from the closest table and sat across from each other. 
“I’ve always had an interest in flying since I was a little kid and I pursued that,” Fergus said. He started flight school at Beverly Regional Airport in 2014, taking one-on-one lessons as a sixth grader. After Fergus got accepted to BLA in 2014, he started a new hobby, photography. At first, he took pictures with a friend who took urban exploration or “urbex” photographs of rooftops and abandoned buildings. From there he started taking pictures of people, thinking that if they wanted their pictures taken and he could do the honor of making them look good, he could make money from it. People learn about him through connections, word of mouth and social media, so most of his gigs are paid shoots.
 Being a student pilot is very difficult. Fergus has to take on a lot of responsibilities as a student at BLA and a young pilot. “Honestly, everything about being a pilot is challenging, but like anything else you do, you practice and get better at it,” he said.
As he overcomes these challenges with practice, he enjoys flying more and more. His favorite part about being a pilot is the freedom of it. He’s able to go places that many can’t, such as flying to Cape Cod to just grab some lunch and fly back.
Fergus learned to make time to balance school, his photography gigs and flight school. He is regularly booking photo shoots and finds that making money by doing something you love is the easiest and most fun way. 
“The plan is to do commercial piloting for the rest of my life,” Fergus said. “I will be getting my license in December.” All of his experiences as a pilot have been very eye-opening and he’s loved every moment of it. 


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Courtesy of Link Nguyen
 Lisa Estrella “Liv” Yang is a courageous Asian American business owner in the nail industry. She grew up in Sheboygan, Wisconsin, and felt different from the other kids. In this society, Yang was different from the other kids. She came to the United States as a refugee, and most of her peers couldn’t relate to her experience of post-war trauma. Additionally, very few spoke her native language of Hmong, creating a cultural barrier. 
Yang started doing nails when she was in elementary school as a way to cope with bullying and depression. She was able to express herself through nail art. 
“You can show different facets of yourself depending on the occasion and still be true to yourself,” she wrote in an email. “I am grateful for my ability to express myself through nail art because that medium offers so many textures, colors, and embellishments that are interchangeable depending on the mood.” 
Her inspiration for creating press-on nails originated from her very first makeup social where she witnessed how nail polish positively affected people in her refugee community, the Hmong people who fled to the U.S. for shelter after the Vietnam War.
Yang attended the University of Wisconsin-Madison. There, she created a pro-self-esteem movement which attracted young women from all over campus to talk about beauty standards over a nail polish session. In 2014, Yang was selected top four out of over 16,000 competitors for an all-expenses-paid trip to New York City in Sally Hansen’s nationwide “I Heart Nail Art” competition. As a queer Southeast Asian woman, Yang always felt like she didn’t fit in. She lived in a state where the population was 80 percent white and only 2 percent Asian. The definition of “beautiful” in her community was white beauty.
“Growing up I felt excluded from the definition of ‘beautiful’ because rarely did I ever see a darker-skin Asian woman who was short and average size,” Yang wrote. Her experience of not being able to fit into a “one-size-fits-all” mold brought her to Boston, where she started the company Faceted Beauty.
 Yang faced many challenges throughout her nail journey and as founder and CEO of Faceted Beauty. “There are so many uncertainties as a startup,” she wrote. “My role as Founder and CEO is mitigating risk every day to ensure the survival of the company. Challenges can range from finding new customers to finding the right talent for the Faceted Beauty team.” However, her challenges taught her how to manage failure and how to get back up.
 As an entrepreneur, Yang enjoys going through the process of bringing positivity into people’s lives with nail art. She has always been “proud to be joining a long history of courageous Asian and Asian American business owners in the nail industry.” Now, Yang is getting ready to launch Faceted Beauty in Fall 2019, to promote their mission that “beauty goes beyond a one size fits all." 


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