RISING FROM A DISASTER TO EXCEL ON ALL FRONTS
I feel as if I have grown as a person because I have seen many different cultures not just in this ColLab but in others ColLabs. .... It has shown me that different is good and that no one should be ashamed for being different. People should be proud of their heritage and not try to bury it in their past. This trip has shown me that there is a whole world out there - it’s not just the United States. A world that is waiting for me to go visit it.
Bianca and her family’s lives were turned upside down when Hurricane Maria ravaged her hometown in Puerto Rico in 2017. Schools along with most everything else in Bianca’s area were decimated. Not one to let a little challenge stand in the way, Bianca connected with Winchendon through one of our alumni, and she soon found herself in Boston on a wintry day. She quickly proved to be a force for good almost as powerful as the storm that had disrupted her life.
- Those early days in the winter of 2017 were a constant reminder for Bianca that she was a long way from her island home, but her heart was still there. That first winter, while working with her teachers on the midyear transition into a new school, she also found time to help organize a fundraiser bringing together the greater community to raise money for those suffering back in Puerto Rico.
- Bianca had a great first spring, joining a student trip to France for a ColLAB, playing on the softball team, and helping tutor kids in the local elementary school – when she wasn’t studying.
- And ,then things got very exciting as volleyball season came around in fall of her junior year. Few would consider her tall in physical terms, but she proved a giant on the court.The team had a great season in the fall of 2018 – and then went on to win the championship for their division in 2019.
- Bianca continued to make the most of her ColLABs, joining a student-led trip to Japan in her junior year.
- In just two and a half years at Winchendon, Bianca put together a great story – coming back from what for many would have been huge obstacles to gain acceptance at Wesleyan University.