First Literacy Scholars 2021-2022

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...

read more
Maria

Maria

In 1999 Maria completed her bachelor’s degree at the University of Unicerp in Patrocinio, Brazil. During college and after graduation she worked as a teacher and supervisor in the early childhood education field. When given the opportunity to come to the United States...

read more
Viktorija

Viktorija

Viktorija moved to the United States from Latvia and attended high school in a small town outside of Boston. At the age of 18 she moved away from a terrible situation at home and finished out her high school year while staying at different friends' houses. After...

read more
Marie

Marie

Marie moved to the United States from Haiti with her two daughters in 2016. She moved to the United States with the hope of providing her family with better opportunities. She knew coming to the United States would be difficult, but she underestimated the culture...

read more
Valentina

Valentina

Valentina is originally from Columbia. As one of six children she grew up with limited opportunities. Her parents did not attend school and often struggled to provide for the family. Her brother, who is on the autism spectrum, was also ostracized as many did not...

read more
Qiaomin

Qiaomin

Qiaomin is from China, where she attended college before moving to the U.S. in 2019. During the coronavirus pandemic, Qiaomin lost her part-time job and her grandfather was diagnosed with stomach cancer. Being the only family member to speak any English, she took on...

read more
Hanae

Hanae

Hanae came to the United States in 2016 when she got married. She studied French and graduated with a specialty in Hospitality Management from the Institute of Technology in her home country of Morocco. When she arrived in the U.S. she was eager to continue her...

read more
Christian

Christian

Christian grew up in a single parent household that struggled to make ends meet and was plagued with alcoholism. With the help of public aid, Christian was able to survive, but life was not easy. In high school, he was constantly bullied for who he was, and how he...

read more
Viktorija

Khadija

From Casablanca, Morocco, Khadija came to the United States in 2016 looking for better opportunities. She was a star student throughout all her studies in her home country, but had to start all over when she came to the United States. Shortly after she came to the...

read more
Doris

Doris

Doris is from the Central American country of Guatemala. She arrived in the United States when she was just 15 years old. She didn’t speak any English, but with the help of Wellspring and her extreme determination, Doris was able to complete high school in 4 years....

read more
Kherrina

Kherrina

Kherrina is from Kingston, Jamaica – a city known for it’s vibrant night life and severe economic hardship. Her childhood was not easy. She grew up in a toxic environment, but still managed to be an exemplary student. Her hard work paid off and she was placed in one...

read more
Mark

Mark

When Mark suddenly lost his father in July of 2020, his life was turned upside down. He grew up watching his father work hard every day, and wanted to honor his wish of going to college and becoming something great. His academic journey was not an easy one however,...

read more
Diana

Diana

Diana is from the Dominican Republic where much of the country lives in poverty. She is the first in her family to move to the United States looking for opportunities for a better life. She excelled in academics of all levels in her home country despite the toxic...

read more
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....

read more
Yves

Yves

Yves came to the United States from Haiti in 2015. After witnessing the disastrous 2010 earthquake she realized she wanted to be a nurse and made the decision to pursue her dream in the U.S. When she arrived in the United States she was met with many challenges. She...

read more
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...

read more
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...

read more
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...

read more
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...

read more
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...

read more
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,...

read more
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,...

read more
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...

read more
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....

read more
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...

read more