Cristo Rey Boston High School

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Mariam Mondjolo: A Long Journey

Mariam often reflects on her mother’s courage and wonders how she found strength. A young mother with four children in tow, including Mariam, who was only three months at the time, they fled Côte d’Ivoire, seeking refuge from a country torn by civil war.  
Landing in a refugee camp in Liberia, they awaited resettlement, hoping for the best. They were difficult years, filled with unspeakable heartbreak. It was with a heavy heart when they were re-settled in Chelsea, MA, as one child had not survived the journey.  
Now a senior at Cristo Rey Boston, Mariam reflects on how her mother has motivated her. “My mom is my hero; her courage and tenacity in finding a better life for her children have inspired me. She works hard daily as a cook at Boston University, and I do not want to disappoint her.”  
Currently working at Morrison Mahoney, a law firm in downtown Boston, Mariam is grateful for the opportunities she has experienced. “My supervisor is cool and talks to me about college and my future.” Initially thinking of a career in criminal justice or as an attorney, Mariam discovered a new passion during the pandemic and has her heart set on becoming an entrepreneur.  
She noted, “I chose Cristo Rey Boston because of the Corporate Work Study (CWS) program. My older brother Paybo is a 2021 graduate who chose dual enrollment in the military and UMASS Dartmouth. I saw how much he learned about himself because of the CWS program, and I have had the same experience. Although my passions are taking me in a new direction, not towards law, my time at Morrison Mahoney has been valuable in so many ways.” 
Mariam has discovered she loves working with make-up as a make-up artist and social media influencer. Covid temporarily closed her business as a make-up artist, but she is back in demand, running her own small business. She will focus on studying business in college, aiming to expand her company.  
Next year will find her on campus at Framingham State, and she is incredibly excited about the opportunities the college will offer. Tri-lingual, speaking English, French, and Krahn, Mariam is keen to expand her horizons via a year spent studying abroad. “My goal is to know other places and to build my understanding of other countries and cultures. I think it will help me be a better business owner.”  
“At every step, the teachers at Cristo Rey Boston have pushed me to build knowledge and to focus on success. It has been easy to succeed because of the support I have received.” Mariam noted. In addition to her CWS placement, Mariam has been working at Boston Police Headquarters since she was 14. She is deeply involved with the Action for Boston Community Development program, or ABCD, and noted, “I love working with the Healing Through Arts program as a group facilitator. We discuss topics of interest, such as injustice in our communities. I love that it involves kids from all over the city, so there is so much diversity of opinion. I hope to bring this perspective to college with me.”  
Mariam concluded, “I know the struggle of coming to America, and I want to help people as I move forward in my career. My experiences can pave the way for other people.”