First Literacy Scholar: Ariela


Ariela moved from Cape Verde to Lisbon, Portugal with her single mother when she was fifteen. She struggled with the transition, dropped out of school and worked as a waitress. In 2014, with a 6-month old daughter, Ariela followed her mother to the United States. After living in a series of shelters, she found Julie’s Family Learning Program which helped her with childcare and housing applications while she attended their HiSET diploma program. With new stability and confidence in her life and a desire to build a better life for her growing daughter, Ariela began studying at Bunker Hill Community College. She has now completed four semesters, studying English, Psychology and planning to major in Allied Sciences. The Covid-19 pandemic was very difficult with the transition to virtual online learning, but Ariela persevered, sharing technology with her daughter who was also completing school assignments online. Despite the pandemic challenges, Ariela maintained a 4.0 grade point average and plans to continue her studies at Bunker Hill. She hopes to work in medicine when she has completed her degree.

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