Overcoming Obstacles Determined To Reach Their Goals

Imagine for a moment that you just moved to another country and you do not speak or understand the language. You don’t have a job, and you have very little money in your pocket. Where do you begin?

For First Literacy scholars, education is the answer and the first step towards a better life.

At First Literacy we are proud to support these brave and determined adult learners by awarding them a $1,500 scholarship to assist them in their pursuit of higher education. This year First Literacy awarded 30 scholarships to deserving individuals. Each scholar has a different inspiring story and hurdles they’ve overcome, but they all share a deep desire to improve their lives through the power of education.

Here are just a few of the compelling stories of the First Literacy 2021-2022 scholars.


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. Doris hopes to continue her academic journey by being the first in her family to attend college. Her dream is to one day become a police officer and continue to inspire those around her to push themselves and achieve their goals.


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 U.S. she entered into an abusive marriage that stopped her from pursuing many of her goals, including finishing school. After some time, she made the choice to leave the abusive environment and go back to school. This fall Khadija will attend Bunker Hill Community College. She hopes to use her education to inspire others going through similar hardships.


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 household she grew up in. Diana intended to follow in the footsteps of her mother and become an engineer after schooling. When she came to the United States, she realized that this was not her true passion, and decided she wanted to become a nurse instead. Diana came to the United States to achieve something greater with her life, and she intends to do so by using her education to help others.


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 looked. This behavior led him down a path of depression and eventually caused him to drop out of school fully. Although education was on the back burner, Christian continued to find ways to support himself with various positions in the food industry. After some time he realized he wanted more for his life, and saw education as the enabler. He recently completed his High School Equivalency and has enrolled in North Shore Community College with the hopes of one day becoming and aesthetic nurse.


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 education, but needed to improve her English skills. She began taking English classes at BEST Hospitality Training and eventually transferred to Bunker Hill Community College to continue her degree. Her goal is to graduate from college and become a General Manager at a hotel in Boston. She hopes to inspire others to continue to work towards their goals and further their education.


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 the role of translator for her grandfather during his medical appointments. Qiaomin was unsure of her ability to take on this role due to her limited ability to speak English, but knew she had to be there for her grandfather. It was this experience that led her to decide she wanted to pursue a career in the medical field. This past spring Qiaomin took the pre-requisite courses for the medical radiography program and she is now planning to apply to the Medical Radiography program at Bunker Hill Community College this fall.


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 understand his condition and erroneously thought it was contagious. Valentina soon moved to the U.S. determined to help others understand autism and learn more about supporting those with mental health struggles. Valentina is now studying psychology and social work at Bunker Hill Community College. Her goal is to work in a role that supports mental health, assists with disabilities and educates the Latino community about these issues.


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 shock and language barrier. After completing English courses and a Bridge-to-College program in December 2020, Marie enrolled in two classes at Bunker Hill Community College. She now works at a hospital providing food service to patients and plans to work towards a degree in business with a focus on the health care industry.


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 of the top schools in her area. She eventually enrolled in college and did her best to juggle work, school, and parenting. During her 2nd year of college the the father of her daughter was tragically murdered, forcing Kherrina to put her college education on hold. Shortly after the father of her child was gunned down Kherrina lost her job. In 2015 she decided to move with her daughter to the United States in search of a better life. Kherrina is now enrolled at Southern New Hampshire University, where she is planning on obtaining a communications degree to pursue a career in mass media.


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 graduating from high school she struggled with family and home life and started working full time instead of attending college. Inspired by her love for designing, Viktorija is now attending Bunker Hill Community College and working towards a communications degree. She aspires to become a creative director in advertising.


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, becoming homeless his sophomore year and eventually dropping out the next. After much hard work and help from X-Cel Adult Education, Mark completed his high school diploma and started his college degree in the middle of a global pandemic. After his first year at Bunker Hill Community College, Mark has a 3.6 GPA. Mark plans to finish his associates degree this next spring and enroll in a four year college to pursue a bachelors in Business Management with a minor in Political Science.


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 to further pursue her profession she left her home and came to a country where she did not speak the language. When she arrived she was told that she would not be able to continue her professional work. She had to pick up jobs that were below her qualifications to make ends meet until she would be able to regain her degree in the states. She later achieved her associates degree to help in securing a job that would provide economic security for her family in the coming years. Her dream is to work in the healthcare field and become a medical information management assistant.

We are proud to support these scholars in their journey to success!