Jacqueline “Jacky” Roldan
Hampstead Hill Academy, Attended Pre-K through 8th, Class of 2019
Commencement 2023 Speaker
Mergenthaler Vocational-Technical High School (Mervo), Class of 2023, Valedictorian


  • Culinary Trades Student
  • Chair of fundraising and activities, Student Government Association (2021-2023)
  • Enrolled in Adelante Latina (2020-Present)
  • Participant of the International Traveling Club (2021-2023)
  • Enrolled in Building Steps (2021-Present)
  • Had perfect attendance and earned around $500,000 in scholarships

College: Enrolled in The Culinary Institute of America 

What is your favorite Hampstead Hill Academy memory?

Considering the amount of years I have spent at HHA, 10 years to be exact, I consider it my second home. Always feeling such delight whenever I see a familiar face from a teacher or staff member I had the opportunity to grow a connection with. 

I have made so many wonderful memories at HHA that it’s hard to pick just one favorite. I think from the great friendships I was able to make to the fun trips we took, my favorite memory has to be the annual HHA Nights. A night to enjoy with friends and families filled with tasty treats as well as fun games in order to win amazing prizes! I have yet to meet another person who has had an opportunity like this in their school and as an HHA graduate, it always has me coming back with my younger brother (who is also an HHA student).

How did HHA and BCP prepare you for Mergenthaler and now college?

I want to thank the Baltimore Curriculum Project (BCP) for helping to create and grow the wonderful HHA community. I had the great fortune to be a part of. Like a domino effect, each is able to help push one another to a greater standard of success. Due to the Pre-K to 8th grade HHA curriculum, HHA’s unique Leaders Go Places (LGP), and the sound advice I had received, I felt more than prepared for Mervo. I knew not to let anyone or anything deter me from my path to excel and work hard. Thank you, HHA and BCP!  

You were one of five Baltimore CIty School students to receive a full, four-year scholarship to McDaniel College through the CollegeBound Foundation. You’re choosing to follow your passion for cooking and attend the Culinary Institute of America. How did it feel to be recognized by the CollegeBound Foundation?

Though I am not going to McDaniel that doesn’t mean that I will stop being grateful for this once in a lifetime opportunity that I was provided. McDaniel will always hold a special place in my heart as well as my eyes due to its beautiful campus. I still remember feeling so shocked by the surprise the McDaniel team, my CollegeBound CAPS and Mervo staff helped to put together. I couldn’t feel anything less than grateful, because they saw something in me that other colleges didn’t and I hope that this opportunity went to another deserving scholar. 

What is your dream job?

My dream job is to become a restaurateur. Throughout the years my love and passion for cooking has only grown, especially as I test out a different recipe. Having seen others create a living through culinary arts, it enticed me to do the same, because it’s what makes me happy. Ever since I’ve entered high school, my main focus has been on searching for any way to move me further along my career path. Hence, why I have chosen the schools that I did, always being able to pick up a new skill, opportunity, or learning experience.

In June 2023, Jacqueline gave the Commencement speech at Hampstead Hill Academy. Enjoy her remarks:

Good morning students, staff, friends and families. My name is Jacqueline Roldan, but you can call me Jackie. I am a class of 2023 graduate from Mergenthaler Vocational-Technical High School (Mervo for short), but before that, I was in the same position as all of you, as a class of 2019 Hampstead Hill Academy graduate. I want to deeply thank you, class of 2023, for providing me the opportunity to be here in celebration of your major accomplishment. 

I know times may have felt tough through all the work, making sure your grades were up to par and that your service learning hours were completed, but trust me it will all pay off when you enter high school. It’s funny actually, because I was just talking with my cousin a week ago in regards to how fortunate we were to be able to attend a school like HHA. I didn’t have to worry about service learning hours when I entered high school, because I had already completed my required amount while in HHA and that’s all thanks to the Leaders Go Places program. L.G.P. also helped me to have a good understanding of what a GPA was, so I knew what kind of level I had to hold myself to and reach, in order to be on a good academic standing. I was surprised to hear how different my middle school experience was to all my classmates in high school and I’m beyond grateful that I can call myself a Hampstead Hill Academy graduate. These skills I picked up allowed me to have more time to focus on my studies and work, which I strongly encourage you to do. 

High School is a new chapter in your life, where you will have the opportunity to make new friendships or even grow old ones. Reach out, support one another, and build a strong network of friends who will uplift you during both the victories and the challenges. Together, you will create a community that will endure long after your high school years. There will be so many opportunities opened up to you, don’t be afraid to take hold of those opportunities and make it yours. It may feel scary at first to be in a new environment, but that’s okay, just as long as you know that it’s also okay to reach out for help and never be afraid to do so. I always like to tell myself that it’s okay to not be okay, because in the end we are all humans not robots, so if there ever comes a time when you need a breather then go ahead and breathe in… then breathe out. Another key aspect to remember is that you will fail at times, but do not let failure define you. Instead, view it as an opportunity to grow, to learn resilience, and to develop the determination to rise above any obstacle that stands in your way.

This new chapter in your life is to help you grow and slowly but surely discover who you are. Make sure you make every moment worth it, by joining a club or participating in an event that may pique your interest, allow yourself to try something new. A little heads up, these experiences will also look phenomenal on a college application, it’s never too early to start thinking about the college process, but that’s a conversation for another day. Not only that, these moments will allow you to reveal an interest that you didn’t even know you had and build up your skills even more. You all will be very busy bees, ready to fly high and make your marks. So I wish you much luck, love and support, class of 2023.

Jacqueline Roldan

Hampstead Hill Academy ‘19

If you graduated from a BCP school and would like to be featured in our “Alumni Spotlight,” submit your information here.

About the Baltimore Curriculum Project

Baltimore Curriculum Project (BCP) is the largest operator of local neighborhood, public charter schools in Maryland. We create safe, supportive learning environments for children PK-8 by providing innovative, research-based educational strategies, intensive teacher training and extensive support for administration and staff. We support our local neighborhood needs by tailoring our resources and support through community partnerships.

As one of the longest-running charter operators in Maryland, our schools are regularly recognized as some of the most highly acclaimed neighborhood charter schools in the state. 

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