The Gift of Education

April 24, 2018


Jenise Gonzalez '18

At the Annual Benefactor and Student Scholarship Dinner, Jenise Gonzalez '18 shared how a Stonehill education challenged and changed her world.

I’d like to begin by telling you a bit about myself. I am a Boston native and grew up in the Roslindale/ Hyde Park area living with my mother, older brother, and younger sister.

OPPORTUNITY

My  mother, a single mother of three, came to the United States from the Dominican Republic when she was 18 in search of work opportunities to support her family. Since then, she has worked tirelessly to provide for my siblings and me, and [she] never had the opportunity to receive a college education.

MENTORS AND TEACHERS

When I was a sophomore in high school, I had a moment that changed my mind for the better. I reflected on my position in life and knew that I had an opportunity to continue my education once I finished high school, unlike my mother. I never thought about future steps at the time, but my mentors and teachers spoke to me about it countlessly.

I knew that I wanted more, but how could I get myself there? I knew that the only way for me to be able to get there was to focus on my schoolwork, get involved, and lead.

OVERCOMING OBSTACLES

Throughout my time at Stonehill, my financial circumstance was an obstacle that I was unsure I would overcome. I worked a part-time job on the weekends to support my academic and personal expenses, while also remaining responsible for my educational costs.

It was difficult to do, but I had to remind myself that being in the position that I was in, was a privilege. I had to persevere and focus on receiving the degree that my mother never had the opportunity to receive.

GENEROUS DONOR

I was given the gift of education from my generous donor, James P. Healey and the Yawkey Foundation. Words cannot express how grateful I am, so I thank you for your enormous contribution towards my education.

FIRST-GENERATION

Your support contributed to my experiences at Stonehill that challenged my understanding of the world around me and pushed me to grow as an individual/student. I aspire to foster hope and support in the lives of many first-generation college students, like myself, by giving the gift of education.

Also, I hope to continue to work with underrepresented students by encouraging them to take control of their futures despite the obstacles on the way there. In the future, I hope to continue my education and receive a master’s degree while remaining engaged with the youth in my community.

A Hyde Park resident and a graduate of West Roxbury Academy, Gonzalez, a sociology major and criminology minor, is hoping to complete a year of service with AmeriCorps after she graduates in May. Active in the Student Government Association, she serves as its Executive Diversity Chair.