In 2005, Lana emigrated from China to Boston. While educated in China and able to read and write a little, she spoke no English at all and found the language very difficult. Lana enrolled in an English language program that received First Literacy funding and rapidly progressed until she knew enough English to take the high-school equivalency exam. She passed with flying colors and then was ready to start college with the help of First Literacy.
She received a First Literacy Scholarship in 2006 to support her goal of becoming a dentist, just like her mother in China. She took a job at Dunkin’ Donuts to practice her English (where she happened to meet her husband, who was one of her customers). Fast forward ten years – Lana received her Associates degree from Bunker Hill Community College, her Bachelor’s degree from University of Massachusetts, Boston, and is now enrolled in Tufts Dental School.
Lana has spoken at several First Literacy events and always shares with the audience a poem that has given her strength during her long educational journey:
Only as high as I reach can I grow;
Only as deep as I look can I see;
Only as much as I dream can I be.