The Life Story of Ms. Gomez

The+Life+Story+of+Ms.+Gomez

Sharlene Almanzar, Staff Writer

“I initially didn’t plan on becoming a teacher… my dream was to become a college professor”. Everybody has little exciting twists during life. However, Julianny Gomez never expected to be where she is today.

Ms. Gomez was born in Mt. Sinai hospital in East Harlem, NYC. She teaches 7th-grade Humanities and is the founder of Hamilton Grange’s Pride Club. Ever since she was a little kid, she has had a great interest in musical theater.

“I think when I was a kid, a movie that I watched a lot with my mom… was the Wizard of Oz. It was practically a musical, and I was just fascinated and obsessed with that movie, and that was kind of like my introduction into musical theater,” she said.

Since that film, she’s directed two musicals at HGMS: High School Musical Jr., and Legally Blond Jr. Ms. Gomez herself has been in musicals as well.

One of the many things Julianny Gomez has cherished since she was a kid is history.

“My favorite subject was always history. I loved history… I especially loved world history, I loved learning about the Caribbean like DR. I liked learning about the past, and where we came from.”

Other subjects didn’t have the same spark as history did for her. However, learning about American history wasn’t as interesting as learning about the Caribbean. 

Right around her high school years, she moved out of New York, to Ridgewood, New Jersey. Julianny was shocked when she found out the big news.

“I was devastated. Ever since I was in the fifth grade my parents were trying to move out to a house…eventually, when I was in 7th grade they started looking at New Jersey. I thought it was never going to happen, but it happened. I was devastated because it was just different,” she said.

Moving there wasn’t as great as her parents thought it would be, because once she got there she experienced huge cultural shock.

“When I moved to Wood-Ridge, New Jersey, which is a one square mile town, the population was literally 95% white. There were barely any Black, Latinx, and Brown students. It was a culture shock and I knew racism had existed but that was the first time when I moved there that I actually experienced racism first-hand,” she said.  

Fitting in was not a very easy thing to do and felt alone at her school. When college came around, she decided to move back to her home city.

“I came back to New York for college because I just felt like I didn’t fit in, in New Jersey. I grew up in this city…I grew up around people with different nationalities, ethnicities, and religious backgrounds,” she said.

Ms. Gomez felt that moving back to New York for college was the right decision, and she started looking for her future job.

“I worked a couple of odd jobs, because I had a history degree so it was hard to find jobs like the museums that I wanted to work at. My plan was to work at a museum for a while, and then apply for Ph.D. programs so I could become a doctor of history and be a college professor,” she said. 

Her clear choice was to become a college professor with a Ph.D. in History. However, one day she got an email from a program called NYC Teaching Fellows that changed her future for the better.

“I got an email from the NYC Teaching Fellows and they’re like ‘If you join our program we’ll pay for your master’s degree, and we’ll put you on a fast track to teaching,” she explained.

Even though Ms. Gomez wanted to be a college professor, this wonderful opportunity was presented to her and so Ms. Gomez decided to apply for the program.

“…I got accepted to the program about five years ago, and I’ve been teaching ever since,” she said. 

Once Ms. Gomez became a teacher at Hamilton Grange Middle School, she created the Pride Club. She wanted to make a safe community for students to express themselves in school.

“I decided to create the Pride Club because I knew from a really young age that I am not straight… Growing up I did not have a support system. There was no pride club in middle school or high school…I wonder how much different it would’ve been if there was a community and a safe adult to talk about these things when we were young,” she said. 

Ms. Gomez has achieved many great things in her life. But this is not the end for her, just the beginning.

“It was rough at first, but I learned to really love being a teacher.”