Jahdiel Perez

Dear Alumni and Friends of UMass Boston, 

What does a steaming dish of Spanish paella, with its pungent aroma of shrimp and chorizo, have to do with who I am today? A lot.

As a boy and young man, I was never a good student. My parents became accustomed to my Cs,Ds, and  Fs, but wanted much more for me. They never had a chance at a good education, and thought I was squandering mine.

When my graduation from high school was "iffy," my mom presented my teacher with a big dish of paella. I  think it was that gift and not my grades that put me over the finish line!  

But as life went on,  I continued to see myself as an academic failure.  

Then I traveled to Mexico to live with an uncle and learn Spanish. The poverty and lack of opportunity overwhelmed me. I vowed to God that I would no longer waste my life.

When I returned, I set my sight on UMass Boston, prepared myself academically for college work, and told the director of admissions, that "if you give me the opportunity to come, I promise I won't let you down."

I didn't. I thrived in my courses: philosophy, sociology, anthropology, and many others. The letter A was my new norm.

I also had the amazing opportunity to join a small group of fellow students to participate in a Latino Leadership Institute at the Harvard Kennedy School of Government.

It was powerful experience and we returned to UMass Boston to start our own program to cultivate Latino achievement. A scholarship funded by alumni and friends like you allowed me the freedom to focus on my studies.

Next year I will attend Harvard Divinity School on a full tuition Dean's Scholarship. I hope to become a college professor in theology and philosophy and a church leader. In these roles I will  help others to rise to their potential, just like UMass Boston helped me to realize my promise. 

I am just one of many, many students whose lives are transformed by a UMass Boston education everyday.

So during May is Give to UMass Boston Month, I invite you make a gift, of any size, to show your support and advance the human opportunities this great public university makes possible.

Thanks!

Jahdiel Perez '14





Jahdiel Perez '14
Philosophy Major
College of Liberal Arts


"The poverty and lack of opportunity overwhelmed me.

I vowed to God that I would no longer waste my life."




  




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