Getting students to and through college.

Their Stories

College Graduates 2020

click highlighted name for graduate story

Goodness Adekoya …….. Providence College
Brandon Arizaga …….. Eastern CT State University
Romine Attis …….. Eastern CT State University
Yasmin Chadwick …….. Providence College
Christina Cruz …….. Connecticut College
Genesis Cubilette …….. Connecticut College
Luis Diaz- Chia …….. Eastern CT State University
Tamia Debarros …….. Spellman College
Anguel Esperanza …….. Eastern CT State University
Sandrine Etienne …….. Eastern CT State University
Harry Georges …….. University of Connecticut
Atilana Guzman …….. Eastern CT State University
Katiria Montanez …….. Eastern CT State University
Patricia Obas …….. Southern CT State University
Charee Osborne …….. Farleigh Dickinson University
Josue Pagan …….. University of Connecticut
Pabel Pascual …….. Eastern CT State University
Hadiya Robinson …….. Hofstra University
Olivia Santana …….. Eastern CT State University
Mabel Taveras …….. Eastern CT State University
Isis Torres …….. Connecticut College

We are incredibly saddened by the violence and senseless racism that has affected black communities for generations. Higher Edge’s mission is aimed at leveling the playing field, of supporting young people in our community who are our country’s future. We believe that Black History should be a requirement – not elective – in every school across the country. And that the time to enact policies to end systemic racism and racial inequalities is now.

We commit to working with community partners to advance racial equity in public education; to listening; to educating; to being anti-racist, and to taking action to do the hard work necessary for lasting, meaningful change.

Higher Edge
Board of Directors and Team

Romine Attis

College: Eastern Connecticut State University
High School: New London High School
Major: Public Health
Post Grad Plans: Get a master’s degree in the health field
"My education means EVERYTHING to me. School is my top priority. School is the only thing that I have been able to do on my own. I have my parents as support and it’s been very rewarding because I got to experience college life and now I can help my siblings."
Advice to current Higher Edge students: "I worked with various advisors but they were all helpful in all different ways. Please keep in contact with your advisors sometimes the things you don’t know will help. Always stay on top of your work, appointments, and everything that has a deadline! Overall Higher Edge helped in an enormous way, my parents wouldn’t be able to help me with the process of college."

Yasmin Chadwick

College: Providence College
High School: New London High School
Major: Health Policy and Management and Social Work (Double major)
Post Grad Plans: Obtain my masters in social work from The University of Connecticut to become a clinical social worker
"My biggest change has been personally and academically. Thinking back to freshman year , I was a lot more shy and not confident in myself. I doubted myself a lot and my capabilities. Throughout the years, I have been able to push myself outside my comfort zone and try new things that overall helped me grow as a person. My education means the most to me. I really have enjoyed learning more about the healthcare system but especially social work. I learned that I want to be a listening voice and advocate for people who struggle with mental illnesses.. A college education has only given me more knowledge about what this can truly mean."
Advice to high school seniors: "It’s important to stay true to yourself. Think about what is important for you in your college experience and try to pick a college that matches that. Don’t compare yourself to others and you are unique and good enough in your own way."

Christina Cruz

College: Connecticut College
High School: Windham High School
Major: Sociology and Latin American Studies
Post Grad Plans: Work for a bit and in a few years enroll in a law degree program where I can continue to serve my community.
"My parents instilled in me the importance of community and helping others. I would not be where I am today without the help of my family, friends, teachers, and community. This became clearer as I started my education at Conn College where privilege and inequality are evident. I saw the importance of having mentors and professors of color and being able to share that experience of those who had been through it before. Having a support system is so important and goes way beyond your family and so I want to help those who come after me in hopes that they don't have to struggle as much as I did. I want my community to succeed as much as I do. So as I grow, so does my community."
My advice: "(1)Don't be afraid to ask for help, there are so many people willing to give you a hand. (2) It is important to know your resources. (3) Be open minded and take risks! It's okay to step out of your comfort zone and be uncomfortable, it just means you are growing."

Genesis Cubilette

College: Connecticut College
High School: Three Rivers Middle College Magnet High School
Major: Africana Studies
Minor: Gender, sexuality, and Intersectionality
Post Grad Plans: Graduate school at Emerson College in the Creative Writing MFA program, creative nonfiction track.

My advice: "Get acquainted with your advisors and deans, they are key in helping you navigate, especially in times you need it most. It is a connection to keep past graduation. Be honest with your professors, sometimes you don't need an excuse to be understood. Everyone has a hard time sometimes."

Luis Diaz- Chia

College: Eastern Connecticut State University
High School: Ella T. Grasso Southeastern Technical High School
Major: Communications
Post Grad Plans: Get right to work in my field, preferably in social media management.
"Thank you to my parents who pushed college on me for better opportunities and a better future. My advice for current college students, definitely use your resources. They will be able to help you along the way."

Tamia Debarros

College: Spellman College
High School: New London High School
Major: Theology and Religious Studies
Post Grad Plans: Seminary after graduation and then go back to school for a master’s degree
"My education means a lot more than the paper I am about to receive. It teaches the life skills I need, gaining an understanding,and a view for the world that helps me get through the world and understand people. Although sometimes we may not agree, we can at least have an understanding. It gives insight as to who I am as a black African American in America and what that means on a global level."
Advice to high school seniors going into college: "Have a solid plan but understand everything doesn’t always go as planned. Switching your plan is fine, just make sure you plan!"

Hadiya Naqueeba Robinson

College: Hofstra University
High School: Science and Technology Magnet High School
Major: Psychology and Philosophy
Post Grad Plans: Get a master’s degree in social work to work as a prison social worker
"I value my intelligence as a whole and I do not take for granted that some don't even get the opportunity to attend high school. High school education meant a great deal to me but many of us do it because we have to. When it came to going to college and choosing the path we want to follow and reaching the finish line. That experience is so surreal, it cannot be described in words. College is the time we learn about ourselves. I did this all by myself and that is what makes it so special."

Olivia Santana

College: Eastern Connecticut State University
High School: Science and Technology Magnet High School
Major: Psychology
Minor: Sociology
Post Grad Plans: Work for a year and then get a master’s degree in counseling.
"I am more confident now than I ever was before, in my capabilities, and in myself in general. I worked on myself a lot while in college, figuring out what worked for me and how to conquer my challenges with both strength and perseverance. I came out of these four years as a stronger and kinder person to myself. Both my college education and Higher Edge have aided in my growth because I always had people who supported me in my endeavors and picked me up when I was at my lowest. I feel truly grateful for my experience and wouldn’t change a thing."
Advice to current Higher Edge students: "Keep striving and work towards what inspires you. The only way your dreams can come to fruition is through hard work, motivation, and understanding. Do not be hard on yourself when there are setbacks because it is a part of life, you will make it through."

Mabel Taveras

College: Eastern Connecticut State University
High School: Social Work
Major: Psychology
Post Grad Plans: Get a masters degree in social work
"My first semester was a little rocky, I withdrew from some classes but I was able to acknowledge my struggles. After my sophomore year I was on the dean's list. Excelling from my downfalls and just getting better and better each semester. Now my professor’s speak great things about me. I am interning at a courthouse. One of my main accomplishments, I finished college in three years. I started at TRMC and was able to accumulate a year’s worth of college credits as a junior and senior in high school."
Advice to college students: "Pay attention to your strengths and any moment through your academic interest: a course, experience, person. I have always been good with people and solving problems, which is why I said, why not turn it into a career! So I majored in Social Work."

Isis Torres

College: Connecticut College
High School: Science and Technology Magnet School
Major: Biochemistry
Minor: Hispanic Studies
Post Grad Plans: Work for a year as a research assistant and then off to medical school!
"Currently applying for jobs, med school, and studying for the MCAT! I'm a science nerd ready to take it to the next level! As I am trying to prepare for the next chapter in my life, I thank Higher Edge so much for their love and support throughout the years. They have helped me and seen me grow."