Joseph, 30, graduated Friday from the University of Massachusetts in Boston with a bachelor of science degree in nursing. Dupere graduated from North Shore Community College on Thursday with an associate’s degree in applied science with a major in veterinary technology, First Literacy said in a statement.
Now, Joseph works as a registered nurse at Brigham and Women’s Hospital, and Dupere is studying to take the national veterinary technician exam this summer.
First Literacy offers college scholarships to adult learners who have completed an adult basic education program or an English language program in Massachusetts.
Joseph and Dupere each received a $1,500 scholarship to help pay for their college education.
The challenges each graduate faced didn’t stop either woman from achieving their dreams.
Joseph, born and raised in Haiti, immigrated to the United States to continue his education after surviving a major earthquake. She started by taking classes in ESOL, English for Speakers of Other Languages, at the Cambridge Community Learning Center.
She was nominated for a First Literacy Scholarship in 2017 to help her achieve her dream of becoming a registered nurse.
Dupere, who grew up in East Boston, first entered a classroom at age 19 through Harborside Community School’s adult education program.
With little formal education behind her, Dupere had to learn to adapt to school standards that were second nature to her classmates.
The COVID-19 pandemic has brought the new challenge of virtual learning. Still, Dupere persevered to earn her applied science degree with a major in veterinary technology.
“I have always valued education and it is a privilege to have the opportunity to pursue it,” Dupere said in the statement. “Growing up, I didn’t have that opportunity, and when I received the first literacy scholarship, I knew it was my chance to learn something that was really close to my heart – it wasn’t not even a question that I wanted to go to college to pursue it.”
Madison Mercado can be contacted at [email protected]