Scholars Join Growing Roster of Graduates
2013 saw the graduation of two Alray Scholars and the stepped-up involvement in the organization by two previous graduates who are now helping to choose our future scholars. Both developments are critical to the pay-it-forward ethos of this organization. The Alray Scholars Program gives promising students a second chance at college through scholarships and mentoring support. And all we ask in return from those students is that, after they earn their degree, they remain involved in the organization so they can help similar students follow in their path of success.
A few months ago, Alray Scholar Teresa Pina walked across the stage to collect her Bachelor’s degree in psychology from the University of Massachusetts-Boston. With her quiet intelligence and relentless drive, Teresa distinguished herself on campus in numerous ways. She graduated with a soaring grade point average, an academic star who shone with particular brightness in her psychology courses. She was a leader of the UMass Women’s basketball team, one of only two players to start in every game, including one is which she posted a double-double of 15 points and 10 rebounds, and she posted a season total of 39 assists that testified to her unselfish play.
Teresa capped her college achievement by travelling to Africa, where she earned the honor of being selected for the Cape Verde women’s basketball national team. This summer and early fall, she represented her family’s homeland by competing on the national team in the AfroBasket tournament. These days, Teresa works as the assistant program director of the Daniel Marr Boys and Girls Club in Dorchester, helping the next generation of Boston students reach their dreams.
Around the same time that Teresa was graduating from UMass, Alray Scholar Judy Rose earned her Associate’s degree in nursing from Quincy College. For years, Judy has been juggling a lot in her life. In addition to her studies and work, she is the mother of a young son and caregiver for her own mother. She’s also a Sunday school teacher who is now leading a clothing drive for her church, and plans to go on a mission field trip to Haiti next year with other members of her congregation.
Like many of our scholars, she is such a source of strength for others in her life that what she has most appreciated from the Alray program is having a mentor and community of people there that she could lean on when she has encountered hurdles in her path to graduation. It’s important to note that our all-volunteer organization has been able to provide that assistance only because of the generosity of Alray donors and other supporters. “Thank you to the whole foundation,” Judy says. “I’m grateful to be a part of your organization. Thank you for being there for me when I was down, and also for celebrating my accomplishments like a true family.”
As Judy, fresh with her degree, begins climbing the ranks of Boston medicine, she says she also plans to keep pursuing higher education by returning to college to study public health. She hopes even to start a non-profit foundation one day to help good people overcome tough obstacles. “Lack of education limited my life,” she says. “Having a nursing degree is not just freeing me, but also my mother and my son, from generations of poverty.”