Rafael Hernandez was born and raised in the Roxbury and Roslindale neighborhoods of Boston, Massachusetts, by parents of Puerto Rican descent. At a young age, Rafael showed a curiosity and love for learning that took him from humble beginnings at the Rafael Hernandez School in Roxbury all the way to the prestigious halls of Boston Latin School. At Boston Latin, Rafael participated in a number of extra-curricular activities, such as Varsity Football, Advance Placement Art, and even held a leadership role as a Senior Praefect, while maintaining adequate grades. He graduated in 2007, and plans to attend Suffolk University in the fall.
The road to graduation was not always easy. Rafael had difficulty adjusting to the “sink or swim” curriculum of Boston Latin School. While he loved English, History, and the Sciences, he was not fond of Mathematics or French, as these were not his strong points. He struggled early on, to the point where he had to take an extra year of French. Rather than give up, he took the extra year of French in stride and continued to participate in National French Exams, even achieving certificates of achievement.
Shortly before his troubles in French, he was faced with another challenge. He moved to Florida with his mother in the summer before his sophomore year, but after attending school there for two weeks, he realized that he was not being challenged nearly enough. He eventually decided to return to Boston to continue and finish his studies at Boston Latin School, while living with his father.
It was at Boston Latin School that Rafael was exposed to the possibilities of public service. In his junior year, he decided to apply for the Ward Fellowship after a few respected faculty members suggested that he do so due to his fascination with history and his amicable personality. Although he had succeeded in making it to the final round of interviews with the Honorable Mark L. Wolf, he was unable to attend the interview because he was out of town due to a family emergency. However, this did not deter him from participating in his senior year.
Rafael is a firm believer that it is the responsibility of the community to better itself, which is why he wishes to become successful in whatever career he decides to pursue so that he can contribute to his community in a positive way and be a role model for other inner city teenagers. He also believes the government and public officials should work closely with the public and listen to their needs in order to act in the best interests of society and maximize the effect of democracy.
Currently, Rafael is considering going to law school after he finishes his undergraduate studies in psychology. He would like to try his luck at being a lawyer and if he proves to be successful, he would eventually like to be elected a District Attorney. It seems only appropriate that his sponsor is the District Attorney of Suffolk County, Daniel F. Conley.