I remember sitting with my College Visions advisor, Raul Cervantes, talking about Clark University’s Accepted Students Day. Clark was my very last choice on my list of 7 total acceptances – so I was already hesitant about considering Clark. While I could come up with many reasons not to go, the biggest was that neither of my parents could go with me. My dad was not in the country and my mom didn’t speak or understand English fluently. How would I get there? What would it look like that I was there alone, when the other students had parents with them? What if I had no one to talk to? Being a first generation college student, these moments always invoked some deeper emotions.
Raul was able to talk me through my fears and ensure that I had everything I needed to go. He helped me build the courage to ask my mentor to drop me off in Worcester, MA (shout out to Chanravy Proeung). He helped me figure out the train route home and CV paid for the train ticket. He worked with me to prepare a list of questions I could ask during my visit. And most importantly, he reassured me that I could do this. Because of that visit, I proudly enrolled at and received my bachelor’s and master’s degrees from Clark University.
I share this story to emphasize that CV has been a crucial part of my growth since I was 16 years old. CV has challenged me and cared for me in all of the best ways. So it is emotional for me to share with you all that after serving as Executive Director, 5 years of being an employee, and 6 years of being a student, I will be transitioning out of CV. While I love CV with all of my heart, I also need to do what is best for me to keep growing in my own professional trajectory. It is time for me to take the lessons that CV has taught me all of these years and continue to take risks, embrace change, and challenge myself in new fields.
While this is a big change for CV and for myself, I am confident that the CV team will continue CV’s work and grow the organization’s impact. This team is a passionate group of individuals that are continuously innovating and strengthening programs to fit students’ current needs. In the past year, over 90% of CV 12th graders completed the College Access Program and of those students 100% are enrolled in college for Fall 2021. We were also able to celebrate 50 college graduates amongst our students! That would not have been possible without the dedication of each and every staff member.
I also want to recognize our funders, donors, and general supporters. Thank you for believing in CV’s work and our mission. The organization would not be able to grow to new heights without you and I hope you continue to support this work. As I’ve always said, College Visions is about more than supporting first generation students to enroll and graduate from college. It is about closing educational and career opportunity gaps; advocating for more affordable higher education and demanding justice for marginalized students; empowering students to understand identity and grow in their own agency and confidence; giving students a home to express themselves and dream big; and supporting students every step the way – through the good and the bad. For those reasons, I will continue to support CV and the work of creating equitable educational opportunities for low-income, first generation college students.
As I continue to reminisce during my last weeks here, I say thank you to the CV staff and students for constantly believing in me and filling my work days with laughter and love. Thank you for accepting me as a vulnerable and emotional professional. Thank you for helping me realize that I define my own leadership. I will miss my CV family dearly, but I am excited to see how CV continues to evolve. Remember, you got this as long as you got each other.
With so much love,