“There were moments of complete devastation during my college process this year.” recalled Raychel Rojas, an engaging senior who radiates energy. “There was a moment when I feared that despite all my work, attending a top university might be financially out of reach.” She continued, “There is a myth in this country that if you work hard and do everything right, you’ll end up at a top college with a full scholarship, but I am here to say that it’s not that simple.”
“I worked hard in high school, went above and beyond at every step when it came to my schoolwork, and my grades reflected that. I was pleased when acceptances started to arrive from the elite colleges I applied to. What I was not prepared for was that the financial aid packages I received left a gap that was much too large for my family to bridge.” noted Raychel. “It built a lot of anger inside of me and left me despairing, feeling that I would be unable to attend college.
“But I am happy now” she continued. Raychel was able to work with the college counselor and the principal at Cristo Rey, writing appeals to her top choice colleges asking for a review of her financial aid package. After a revision in aid, she is excited to have her choice revealed at the upcoming Academic Signing Day event.
Raychel noted “I am fortunate to have family and teachers who care for me and support me. It made all the difference in sticking with the college process.” She continued, “Having the support of my community made me realize that everywhere I go, I will prosper.”
Raychel comes from a family of achievers, with her older sister Anagabriel, CRB Class of 2018, about to graduate from Brown University in May. When considering the courage it will take to move away from family and friends to attend university, Raychel reflected “I want to be an example for my nephew and niece- to have them be proud of me – and to be able to say to them, have courage and go out and achieve your dreams!”
Of proud Nicaraguan descent, Raychel noted that her mom aspired to be a lawyer, but family responsibilities to her ailing parents removed that choice. In considering her own future, becoming an FBI agent or an Immigration lawyer seem appealing paths. She noted that in her community of Chelsea, she sees people who live in fear because they do not have good representation in the citizenship process. She continued, “I have the passion, drive and heart to see that people are well represented.”
Currently working at Goodwin Procter LLC, she has had an insider’s view of law via her Corporate Work Study placement. She noted, “I have made so many connections, and learned so much. My supervisor has been fantastic, making sure I felt supported, and keeping me calm throughout the college process.”
Looking ahead, Raychel noted that one of her goals is to bring awareness to what life is like for aspirational students from communities like Chelsea. She noted that they and their families work hard, and would like everyone to understand their struggles, and the racism they often face. She continued, “Ultimately, I would like everyone to be comfortable with each other and be safe and happy.”