Why School Isn't Just For Me
By Lesly Mejia
Bright Star Schools Alumna, Class of 2016
Williams College, Class of 2020
From my first day at Williams College, and every day since, I've known that I'm not just going to school for myself, but for my family. When I get my diploma in 2020, it will be for me, my parents, and my siblings.
It will also be for Bright Star Schools and their support.
After graduating from Bright Star Secondary Charter Academy, I headed to Williams, a small liberal arts college in Massachusetts known throughout the East Coast.
In moving across the country, one of the issues I faced was the difference in weather. Although I brought warm clothes from Los Angeles, they weren't built to keep me warm in 25° weather.
However, in a new state, a new city, and a new school, I didn't know where to go for clothes, much less look for ones I could afford. So I reached out to my Bright Star Alumni Support Coordinator and let her know I didn't have extra money to buy expensive winter gear or know where to look for it.
Bright Star worked with Williams College to purchase a winter coat and boots for me. Now, I still get cold during the winter, but I can focus more on chemistry instead of wondering if I'll have frost-bitten toes by the time I get to class.
Plus, Bright Star helped me find groups and resources on campus, and I joined a Latino community support club. I'm proud to be able to celebrate and share my heritage with all of Williams' students.
I'm sharing my story because I want people to know that for students like me, who will be the first in our families to graduate from college, that college success can be particularly hard.
Together, we can make sure that financial obstacles (like tuition or not having enough money to buy winter boots) or socio-emotional challenges (like wondering if you really belong, dealing with micro-aggressions, or missing your family on the other side of the country), don't prevent first-generation college students from walking across that stage and earning their diploma.
Thank you for supporting Bright Star Schools, their students, and their alumni.