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Daniela learned at an early age the meaning of difficult challenges and the need to find the determination to overcome hardships. She is first generation of parents from Honduras. When she was in the 8th grade, her father was incarcerated, and her mother was forced to work two jobs to keep the family together.
Santiago has earned a reputation as a First Initiative (FGI) scholar with a brilliant aptitude for mathematics and a dream of one day teaching children of inner city neighborhoods in Milwaukee, his hometown, or Chicago.
“We have an urgent need … an immediate need … to better educate young people in our country, particularly in challenged urban communities,” says Brother Edmund Siderewicz. Because, he continues, by our own admission, we have a serious high school drop-out problem that has only gotten worse.
Mayra’s greatest motivation in school is to make her family proud of her accomplishments. She is the first person in her family to achieve higher education. Today, when she talks of her future plans and career, her strong belief in the culture of family is and will continue to be the center of her life.
Octavia has worked hard to overcome a sudden tragedy that struck family ten years ago. It was a day, she says, that changed her life forever. Her mother had become ill, and soon passed away. The oldest of two children, Octavia found herself in a new role, a new life direction.
Ibrahim began his life as one of Africa’s lost children, like so many others. He was born in Freetown, Sierra Leone, and cannot remember life with his birth parents. They were murdered in the country’s violent civil war when he was four years old, a time of horror in his young life blocked from memory.
Recognizing that America has become a society of diverse people and many cultures, Saint Mary’s University of Minnesota has wanted to make sure that all people in all strata of today’s America have a fair shot at the dream of higher education. Dr. Jane Anderson is the academic leader behind the programs.
Janet Willis was on Facebook at one o’clock in the morning recently to tell some of her students to get off-line on a school night and go to bed. Such late night duties are not in her job description but rather in her personal commitment to help First Generation scholars to succeed.
Chris has his sights already set on his career goal after college of writing … storytelling … in motion pictures. He knows it’s a field that requires perspective, depth of vision and an understanding for the essence of wisdom. Despite his age, 19, Chris speaks with learned wisdom.
When it comes to succeeding against the odds, Markeise knows no bounds. Markeise Russell grew up living in his aunt’s home as the result of struggles in the personal lives of his parents. He didn’t know his parents well. As a child Markeise suffered from the effects of feeling unloved and unwanted by his parents.