First Literacy Scholar: Valentina

Valentina came to the United States from Colombia. When she arrived the language was foreign, the culture unknown, and the environment vastly different from what she was accustomed to. As she set foot in her new life, she knew she had to start from the bottom, learning the language and adapting to the world around her.

Despite her initial doubts, Valentina found a glimmer of hope when she discovered First Literacy, an organization that believed in her potential. The First Literacy scholarship provided her with the opportunity to pursue her studies at Bunker Hill Community College. With the support of First Literacy, Valentina embarked on her educational journey, aiming for a degree in psychology.

But life has not been smooth sailing. Alongside her studies, Valentina faced economic hardships and health issues that led to various physical and mental challenges. Yet, Valentina ‘s spirit remained unbroken. She turned to her family’s unwavering support and faced each obstacle head-on, emerging as a stronger and more patient person.

Valentina’s dedication and hard work has caught the attention of others. She was recently invited to join the Commonwealth Honors Program at Bunker Hill Community College and was recognized by the Phi Theta Kappa International Honors Society. She is also actively participating in a leadership program, The National Society of Leadership and Success.

Valentina is also the 2023-2024 recipient of the Tom Brunnick Memorial Scholarship*.

*The Tom Brunnick Memorial Scholarship has been named in memory of Tom Brunnick, who immigrated to the United States in 1921, escaping poverty and civil war in his home country of Ireland in search of a better life. He worked tirelessly to pursue his own dreams, and was ultimately able to raise five children and buy a house in his adopted home city of Boston. He was fortunate to be part of a community that supported one another; Tom’s family hopes that through this award, scholars can experience being part of a supportive community, as well.

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