Manhattan school founder offers girls a path into business

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City educator Patricia Minaya had a dream: She wanted to give girls from all walks of life access to careers in business.

After working as a public school teacher and administrator for years, she finally founded the Urban Assembly School of Business for Young Women in 2005.

More than a decade later, many of the girls who were once students, are becoming successful businesswomen.

For helping girls achieve their career dreams, Minaya is nominated for a Hometown Heroes in Education Award.

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“I feel that what I am doing is essential,” said Minaya, 43. “I’m giving back to young women the same way people gave to me.”

Born in the Washington Heights to parents from the Dominican Republic, as a teen Minaya watched her mother open and operate a successful bookstore.

The experience inspired Minaya to pursue her own career. She signed up for business courses at Brandeis High School and scored an internship at IBM through her school.

“I probably would have never walked into IBM, if not for Brandeis,” she said. “Those experiences opened up a world of opportunities and ideas for me.”

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She went to college and became a teacher, determined to help kids from working-class backgrounds like her own.

Eventually she had a bigger dream, to create her own school.

She collaborated with Urban Assembly founder Richard Kahan to create the city’s first public high school for girls focused on business.

The school now enrolls nearly 300 students, most of them black and Hispanic teens from underserved neighborhoods.

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The landmark Charging Bull statute stands right in front of campus, smack in the heart of the Financial District.

Minaya wouldn’t trade it for the world.

“We make a difference every day,” she said. “We’re impacting the lives of students, and also their families — and the future of this country.”

by Reza Moreno and Ben Chapman – nydailynews.com