Here are some of the outstanding graduates of our Class of 2015.
Hector Ramirez lives in the Chad Brown Housing Project, one of the toughest neighborhoods in Providence. In his own words, from his college essay, Hector reflects on Robert Frost’s poem, “The Road Less Travelled.”
“My friends who grew up with me in the projects are like family. We know the definition of poverty. They were like brothers to me, but my friends began disappearing one by one. I lost three of my friends to gang-related activities even though none of them were involved in a gang. They were killed just because they lived in Chad Brown. Chad Brown is flooded with drug dealers and gang bangers.”
Living in Chad Brown carried a tough stigma, and after years of trying to overcome it, Hector succumbed. He began hanging out with the wrong group of people each day. But his mother told him that it didn’t matter where he came from, that a good education could take him to places he never imagined. But Hector did not listen to her, and started to fight, steal from corner stores, and come home late. He knew his mother was hurting. But one night, Hector gave her a hug and told her he finally understood what she had been telling him.
The summer after his first year in high school, Hector told his remaining friends that he was tired of people looking down on him because of where he lived. “I have a dream, and that dream is to succeed and make it out of the projects. I learned that, when I really try my best in my classes, I can earn good grades.
“Now I know what Robert Frost meant. He chose to go the path less traveled. My friends and I took our separate paths. My friends’ path was to stay in the hood and mine was to get an education.”
Hector will continue his dream at the University of Rhode Island in the fall, where he will study pharmacy thorough the Talent Development Program.
Andy Montufar Granados was born in Guatemala, but when he began school, he was held back due to his inability to speak English and to read well. His mother was deported when he was 11 years old and the whole family returned to Guatemala. Andy had to relearn the culture and formal Spanish.
He remained in Guatemala until he was in 9th grade and returned to Providence at the start of 10th grade. He has two younger brothers and works with his mother and stepfather in the family bakery. Despite the moves between two countries, Hector has earned mostly A’s in the majority of his classes and will graduate as Mt. Pleasant’s valedictorian.
When Abigail Kahsay arrived in Providence as a tenth-grade English Language Learner, her previous home had been a refugee camp in Ethiopia/Eritrea, where her family had lived for eight years. They had no running water in their shelter, which was like a tent, and she had to walk a long distance to school.
Abigail is one of five children, and the youngest was born in the United States last year. She is a motivated and strong student who plans to attend Rhode Island College in the fall.
Kevin Leon was born in the United States, but lived with mother and maternal grandmother for years in Spain. When he was only ten years old, his mother passed away. He and his grandmother stayed in Spain until money ran out and he came here as a 9th grader to live with his biological father, whom he did not know well.
Kevin entered MPHS during the second semester of 10th grade and has developed into a wonderful artist and a straight-A student. He plans to study architecture at the University of Rhode Island, where he has been accepted into the Talent Development Program.