Three Graduates 3


I put the photos in frames at least a year ago but walking by them recently they jumped out at me from their perch on top of the bookshelf in the penthouse (lol).  The penthouse is what I call the third floor of our house because it’s mostly my husband’s domain. (It reminds me of his 12th floor apartment that he lived in while we were dating.)


The photos are of our three children – two young women and one young man – all of whom have their undergraduate degrees.  This is something we feel immensely proud of. 


My son earned a full scholarship to Northeastern University and went straight through, graduating cum laude.  He attended a year and a half of acting school after (having given no indication that he was interested in acting before NU – at least not that I remember.)
My daughter meandered through, stopping along the way to her bachelor’s (as did her mother…that would be me…before her) but she graduated from Queen’s College. She has worked in positions of increasing responsibility at BOA and is now deciding what road she’ll take for her graduate degree and a new career. My new daughter graduated from The Art Institute of Atlanta (she’s a dynamite graphic artist) and is pursuing a Master’s degree in business administration.


My two birth children grew up in inner-city Boston.  While it was always presumed, assumed and voiced that they would get college degrees (continuing the tradition in our family set by my mother and my siblings) it was by no means certain that this would be achieved.  There are lots of obstacles, especially for Black, urban children, most especially for Black males, on the way to a college degree.


Among the obstacles are:



  • Low expectations of some teachers, guidance counselors, and other adults.
  • Naysayers among family, friends and peers.
  • Money. Money. Money.
  • Societal images of their peers as not being college graduates.
  • The temptation to work instead of finishing college.
  • The irrelevance of some of the course work.
  • The uncertainty of what to study.
  • Frustration about and fear of declaring a major (as in is this really what I want to do for the rest of my life?)
  • Uneven support at college.

Still, there were supports and they persevered.  One of the major statements having a degree makes is that you were able to start and finish a goal, handling the difficulties along the way.  You all done good!


Applause, applause to you three.  Your father and I are proud of your degrees and the personal achievement it represents for you as well as the validation that we did something right.  (We’re also proud of how you’re living your young adult lives.)  May your dreams and goals continue to come true.


About Candelaria Silva

Candelaria Silva-Collins is a marketing, community outreach and programming consultant; writer; and trainer/facilitator who lives in Boston, Massachusetts. She has designed and facilitated workshops on a wide variety of topics including communication, facilitation, job search skills, team building, and parenting issues. She currently coordinates the Community Membership Program of the Huntington Theatre Company. Her work as Director of ACT Roxbury was profiled in several publications, including The Creative Communities Builders Handbook. Candelaria’s children’s stories, short stories, essays and reviews have been published in local and national publications and she is an active blogger. Her publications include the booklets, Handling Rejection; Pushing through Shyness: Networking Tips when You’re Shy, Slow to Warm Up or Just don’t Feel you Belong; and Real Questions about Sex & Relationships for Teens: A Discussion Guide for Parents. She has served on the boards of Goddard College, Wheelock Family Theatre, Boston Foundation for Architecture, and Discover Roxbury. She is currently Chair, Designators of the Henderson Foundation.

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3 thoughts on “Three Graduates

  • Duchess

    Congratualations to you and to them. It was your (and your husband’s) strength that helped them overcome those obstacles.

    When we have a strong, black President, all children are going to think of things a little differently.

  • MiMi Hughes

    I remember when your children were little babies. My, my, when time flies it stops for no one. Yes, your children have accomplished much in their lives and I am so proud of them. They have been blessed with a fabulous mother to love and guide them in a positive way throughout their lives, and from that guidance they became productive adults. Three cheers for Candelaria, Tessil and the fabulous three.