First Literacy Scholars 2020-2021

Rosene

Rosene

Rosene came to the United States from Haiti with the dream of attending college and creating a better life for her and her family. When she arrived in the United States unable to speak English, her job opportunities were limited to a series of low-wage jobs that were...

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Thi Kim

Thi Kim

Thi Kim immigrated to the United States from Vietnam in 2017. Not speaking English was a major obstacle to Thi Kim’s goal of attending university. In 2018 she enrolled at the Asian American Civic Association and completed her studies in June of 2020. Thi Kim is...

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Julio

Julio

Julio faced serious challenges in high school including the loss of his grandmother, forcing him to live alone. Julio needed to work full time in high school to support himself and had to give up on his goal of graduation. Now Julio is motivated by his own children’s...

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Jennifer

Jennifer

Jennifer was born and raised in Puerto Rico and arrived in the United States in 2018. Jennifer has worked extremely hard since arriving in the United States having to overcome severe domestic abuse. She is a survivor and is motivated by this experience to pursue a...

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Javier

Javier

Javier was born in Paterson, New Jersey, has lived in New York City and now lives in Fitchburg MA. Javier was raised in a family that did not value education and met no resistance when he dropped out of high school. Javier struggled with addiction for many years and...

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Luis

Luis

Luis attended elementary school in his small village in El Salvador, but high school and university required travel to a bigger town, a trip that exposed him to weekly gang attacks. After his report to the police, more serious threats forced him to abandon his family...

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Adriana

Adriana

After waiting for almost ten years for her green card, Adriana was finally able to come to the United States from El Salvador. With business education and accounting experience, Adriana qualified for many related positions but needed to improve her English. She found...

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Marie

Marie

Marie came to Boston eight years ago when the United States welcomed victims of Haiti’s 7.2 earthquake in 2010. She stayed with friends, found work housekeeping, and ate turkey sandwiches morning, noon and night to save for her own home. She studied English at the...

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Jocelyne

Jocelyne

Jocelyne was just 16 years old when she left her home country of Haiti. Her father did not enroll her in school when she lived in Haiti, so she made the decision to come to the United States in hopes of receiving an education. When she arrived, she got a job as a...

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Brima

Brima

Brima is from Sierra Leone, West Africa – a country that has experienced an 11-year civil war, an Ebola virus epidemic, mudslides, flooding, corruption, hunger, and poverty. Brima moved to the United States in 2017 to create a better life for himself and his family....

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Lilian

Lilian

Lilian came to the United States with her husband and two children to get away from violence that disrupted her family in Brazil. Her first year in the U.S. was very hard. She knew no English and could not work, so her family had serious financial and emotional...

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Katia

Katia

In 2005 Katia immigrated to the United States from Brazil. She came to the U.S. in order to receive the training and financial backing necessary to achieve her dream of becoming a nurse. Life has been challenging since arriving in the U.S. She works two jobs to...

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Karen

Karen

When Karen came to the United States from Columbia, she knew that to succeed and understand this new culture she needed to learn the language. Karen quickly progressed through English and college transition programs at El Centro del Cardinal and in 2020 she completed...

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Damus

Damus

Damus came to Boston eight years ago when the United States welcomed victims of Haiti’s magnitude 7.2 earthquake in 2010. She stayed with friends, found work housekeeping, and ate turkey sandwiches morning, noon, and night to save for her own home. She studied English...

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Julia

Julia

Julia was born and raised in East Boston. With an unconventional upbringing, she and her siblings did not attend school or see doctors. Julia’s first experience in a classroom was at the age of nineteen when she enrolled at Harborside Community School’s Adult...

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Gabriela

Gabriela

Gabriela grew up in Venezuela with a love of books inspired by her mother. Outside of her studies she worked on social projects in Caracas, attended a social empowerment course in Mexico and participated in the 2017 Yale Global Scholars program. While she was at Yale,...

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Yane

Yane

Yane faced many challenges when she arrived in the United States in 2019. She needed to balance a full-time job, care for her young son, and learning English. In time she was able to get help from the Asian American Civic Association, which allowed her to find work,...

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Joel

Joel

Joel came to the United States in 1999, in search of a better future. In his home country of Peru, he faced national unrest, economic depression, and food shortages. He was an outstanding student graduating as valedictorian of his high school class, but he sought an...

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Ariela

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....

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Edith

Edith

The youngest of several children, 10-year-old Edith was sent to live with her grandparents who put her to work for the adults in the household rather than send her to school. She was soon ill from exhaustion and hospitalized. Thanks to her doctor’s intervention, she...

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