Celebrating Our Hero Squad

What is a hero?

At Steppingstone, we believe Scholars are the heroes who work to achieve their dreams of college success. They do so with help from their “squad”: the teachers, Advisors, counselors, and family members who support them and the donors who generously fund their journeys. On November 9, we celebrated Scholars and their supporters at our Hero Squad Gala, held at the Fairmont Copley Plaza.

As always, Scholars were the focus of the night. Steppingstone Alumnus Senam Kumahia ’96, a graduate of Noble and Greenough School and Dartmouth College, emceed the event.

Senam Kumahia

Nathalie Diaz-Troncoso ’13, a sophomore at Boston Latin Academy, told guests, “Your generosity has helped get me here. You keep Steppingstone running, and you help them change students’ lives like they did for me.”

Nathalie Diaz-Troncoso

Melvin Hernandez ’19, a sixth-grade College Success Academy Scholar, spoke about the members of his “hero squad”: his Steppingstone Advisors, who help him whenever he is struggling and have taught him “that it’s important to get along with everyone;” his teachers, who attended the Gala to cheer him on; his best friend Isabella, a fellow Steppingstone Scholar; and his parents, whom he told, “los quiero mucho” (I love you so much).

Melvin Hernandez

In the future, I really want to go to Boston Latin Academy. I know that my work in College Success Academy is going to help me get there. I also want to go to MIT and become an app designer. -Melvin Hernandez

Keynote speaker Megumi Milla ’06 brought down the house as she shared her deeply personal story. Born in Peru, Megumi moved here at the age of six and recalled, “Moving to the United States was one of the most challenging experiences I have had to overcome, but when I let Steppingstone into my life, I gained resilience, flexibility, self-motivation, and patience.” After commencing from The Steppingstone Academy, she attended Brimmer and May School and received a full scholarship to Bates College.

Megumi Milla

Not every child and family has access to the same opportunities as I did. I look forward to working with you all so that talented and capable students have access to equal educational opportunities. Boston’s students are lucky to have such a powerful squad. -Megumi Milla

Finally, Steppingstone Board Chair Brian Conway donned his Hero Squad attire to speak about his involvement with Steppingstone and auction off items like backstage passes to Broadway hit Hamilton and a luxury box at a Boston Celtics game.


Thanks to the generosity of our Hero Squad, the Gala raised $1.3 million to support Steppingstone Scholars as they work tirelessly to achieve their goals of college success.

See photos from the event below!

All photos by Sam Moody Photography.