Mayor Menino honors Chelsea learners in scholarship ceremony

Mayor Thomas Menino, Roxana Ramirez, First Literacy CEO Skye Morrison Kramer

“College is not only about being academically prepared but being able to build a support network for yourself to help you through the ups and downs of your college experience. First Literacy is stepping up to be one of those supports!”

—Lauretta Brennan, 2007 First Literacy Scholar

On Thursday, July 19, friends and families of 16 adult learners, including Chelsea resident Roxana Ramirez, gathered in the Eagle Room at Mayor Thomas Menino’s office to celebrate the presentation of the 2012 First Literacy Scholarship awards. A former scholarship recipient, Lauretta Brennan, shared her story of persevering through hardship and achieving success through education. She pointed out that in addition to the financial support, First Literacy connects Scholars with mentors—former and continuing Scholars who can offer advice and essential support to help the new Scholars succeed.

First Literacy Scholarships give recipients $1,000 that can be used to pay for tuition, fees, books, or any other cost related to going to college. Before presenting the checks and certificates, Mayor Menino spoke about his own decision to go to college late in life and expressed great admiration for the choice the First Literacy Scholars were making. A reception for the Scholars and their friends and families followed the ceremony.

Over the past twenty years First Literacy has awarded 400 scholarships to outstanding adult learners who have graduated from an Adult Basic Education or English for Speakers of Other Languages program and are now pursuing a college degree.  Many of this year’s Scholars are Boston natives who have recently obtained their GED, while others came to the city from countries such as Albania, Brazil, Columbia, the Dominican Republic, Ethiopia, Kazakhstan, Jamaica, and Venezuela. While they come from diverse backgrounds, and will be studying in different fields (accounting, architecture, education, law, medicine, nursing), for all of these adult learners, a First Literacy Scholarship means an opportunity to improve their lives and the lives of their families.

Since its founding in 1988, First Literacy has awarded $400,000 in individual scholarships and $5 million in grants to adult literacy programs in Greater Boston.  In addition to grant funding, First Literacy supports its partner-programs by offering free professional development opportunities and technical assistance. First Literacy’s partner-programs have helped over 42,000 individuals achieve their education goals, improve their English skills, and become active citizens in the Boston community.

For more information about First Literacy, please visit

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