First-Gen students celebrate becoming “Pioneers”

By Liv P. Fernandes 1851 Staff

On Nov. 14, on the first floor of the Arnow Campus Center, Jesse Tauriac held a celebration for first generation students of the Lasell community.

To begin the event, Jesse Tauriac welcomed students with a warm greeting and encouraged them to gather closely for instructions.

        The first activity of the night was to take a sticky note and build a wall of appreciation, listing who helped the students to get into college and their names on the back for a raffle for a $25 gift card for Amazon.

Tauriac then encouraged an intern from the IC3, Alanis Perez, to pick individuals from the wall of sticky notes to explain their person they chose, and for others to chime in if something somebody said resonated with them.

         First-year Bryan Sposato said, “my mom had no clue how to do [college] stuff, either. She just started going to college. My shop teacher in high school… sat down with us and showed us how to get the ball rolling.”

        Tauriac said, “my mom and dad were very hardworking people. They had this vision for me, to get something they weren’t able to have. They worked so hard, my dad was working as much overtime as he possibly could, my mom always maxed out overtime for her; they did everything they could to fund my education. That’s why I honor them.”

        Intern Emmanuel la Jean-Louis at the IC3 said, “What Jesse said resonated with me. My parents, especially my dad… went to college in Haiti, but when he came here his degree doesn’t count here; he had to start all over again. There’s a language barrier, so he had to get multiple jobs to support me. He wants the best for me at all times; he’s very proud and he has worked very hard, so I intend to make him very proud as a future lawyer.”

        Tauriac said, “When you go [to college] …  you’re bringing everyone with you. I achieved this for them, too. On one hand, that’s a powerful moment, but that’s also a hell of a lot of pressure. I know they’re looking to me and they’re counting on me to represent my family. I think that can be a challenge but it can also be really powerful as well. I love that dynamic.”

              When explaining why he held the event Tauriac said, “the achievements of first-generation college students and graduates are very meaningful and worthy of being celebrated and honored; they’re a set of experiences and challenges that are often under-appreciated, and to have a gathering where people can share about their experiences and feel validated by others and supported by others is a powerful opportunity.”

              Tauriac’s next prompt asked if  anyone said anything inspiring to the crowd, and if it was important for any college student. Senior Rosa Del Carmen Gomez said of the downfall of pressure, “first-gens feel the need to really outshine and prove something to themselves and the people who are surrounding them.”

        Alanis Perez, intern of the IC3, said, “My parents paid a lot to get me here. It’s expected of me, but I feel like I can’t let anyone down, because it’s so much money. I’m the one with the opportunity, but I have to make all of it.”

The discussions continued through the night and brought an intimate energy and sense of togetherness. To end the event, Tauriac encouraged attendees to indulge in food and drink. The gathering concluded with several groups breaking off to discuss.

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