Spotlight on: Sandra Monteiro and Connie Ramos

Every month, we highlight two outstanding Scholars in order to recognize their achievements as well as to encourage and inspire the rest of the community. This month, we would like to recognize two family members for achieving their dream of earning a college degree. Thank you for not only inspiring your Scholars but also the rest of the Steppingstone community. Congratulations, Sandra and Connie, on earning your degrees!

What was the name of the program you graduated from?

Sandra Monteiro: I graduated from Northeastern University with a bachelor’s degree in Sciences of Psychology.
Connie Ramos: I graduated from The Medical Professional Institute in Malden, MA.

What motivated you to return to school?

SM: I have always dreamed of going to college and pursuing the career of my dreams. Unfortunately, life is not easy and many things came in the way, which made it difficult to follow my dreams. After years of struggles, I noticed that education was the key to growing higher. It came to my mind that, if I want my children to go to college and succeed in life, I have to do the same thing. In other words, my children were my biggest inspiration, and I couldn’t have done better if wasn’t for them.
CR: I wanted to earn a certification for Phlebotomy and as an EKG technician.

“After years of struggles, I noticed that education was the key to growing higher. It came to my mind that, if I want my children to go to college and succeed in life, I have to do the same thing.”

What was the hardest part of earning your degree?
SM: The hardest part of earning my degree was the days and nights that I couldn’t spend with my children. Overloaded with work from school, school meetings and classes, I couldn’t find time for myself to do simple things such as watching TV, or playing with them (my children). This was the worst part of it.
CR: The challenges were being a mother, studying and sometimes having to stop whatever I’m doing to help my daughters with homework etc, and learning to balance all of our needs so we can have a better future.

What was the best part of earning your degree?

SM: The best part of earning my degree is that I am done! I have accomplished my dreams and inspired my children to do the same. Nothing made me feel better than when my son told me at the graduation ceremony, “You did it Mom, I love you!” This was the best part of it.
CR: Of course, the greatest part is throughout it all I never gave up. Having my two daughters watch me walk to obtain my certification was the best feeling in the world! I cannot fail them because I’m their biggest example.

What are you most proud of?

SM: Do you believe that I named myself as a “super woman?” Yes I did it. I didn’t know that I was capable of handling so many things at once. I would say that I am proud of myself.
CR: I’m proud of the example I’m setting for my daughters and being able to provide a more stable future.

“Never put limits on your success because of circumstances that you may have been born into. It’s up to you to make a change so you can grow into the person you’re meant to be. Education is the key to your future.”

What words of advice would you give to CSA Scholars as they continue on their paths?

SM: My advice to Scholars is to continue your dreams of going to college. Everything is possible if you want it. As a mother I could do it, so can you. Don’t ever let anything or anyone frustrate your future. College is the only way for a better education and it’s the key for your success! Good Luck!
CR: In order to achieve our goals, we must expand our minds and look over the horizon. There’s a world that is meant to be explored and conquered. Never give up on your dreams, and if you fail, you can keep trying until you make it. Never put limits on your success because of circumstances that you may have been born into. It’s up to you to make a change so you can grow into the person you’re meant to be. Education is the key to your future.

This interview originally appeared in the May 2016 College Success Academy newsletter.