Posted: 06/28/2021 20:26:48 PM
HOLYOKE – Earlier this month, Angela Laroche and her twin sister Thamarre faced the painful possibility of quitting the four-year scholarships for Howard University, the historically black university in Washington, DC, which is the alma mater by Vice-President Kamala Harris.
Even with their scholarships, a small loan, and tuition covered, the 18-year-old sisters still had to find over $ 10,000 each to cover room and food, books, and personal expenses for each year. Their single mother, who took her daughters to the United States from her native Haiti when they were 5, provides home care on a per diem basis and does not have the resources to make the challenge go away. financial twins. So Angela and Thamarre got down to business – literally – each holding two part-time jobs.
They looked for foundation scholarships and work-study opportunities and opened an account at Westfield Bank for contributions to the “Laroche Two-ition” account. A report on their fate appeared in the June 4 edition of the Gazette. A few days later and after graduating from Paulo Freire High School of Social Justice in Chicopee, the sisters began to receive notes of encouragement and donations.
“At the start,” Angela said, “small increments: $ 100, $ 50, $ 40, another $ 100. My fifth grade teacher offered to pay for my books.
“A lot of things were falling into place,” Thamarre said.
Then came a call from the neighbor who helped the twins set up their “Two-ition” account. They had received another contribution – an anonymous donation of $ 20,000. The donor’s representative, also anonymous, said the donor “saw the article” and “took action”.
In a follow-up note to the neighbor, the donor’s representative said that the struggles and sacrifices of the mother of the twins “are a reminder of the generations of black people in this country who were willing to suffer and sacrifice their lives for freedom and civilian life. rights that only their descendants would know.
“We send our greatest admiration and enthusiasm for Angela and Thamarre as they embark on the life of promise made possible by their amazing mom.”
“I told my grandmother,” Angela said, “and she was crying and praying and saying ‘Thank you, God.’”
Going to Howard University, Thamarre said, “looks like we should be doing. Coming from a low-income minority family, we want to break the chain of financial instability and lack of education.
Donations to their Westfield Bank account continue to flow, and the Laroche sisters benefit for the next year and the following year. But the public response to Howard’s acceptance of the twins hasn’t been all sunshine and rainbows. A man in his 60s posted a comment that the sisters’ success was “fishy” and that a white college student with a 4.0 GPA would not have had such a smooth ride.
“I was confused,” Thamarre said. “Nothing came easy for us. But the support we have received outweighs the hate.
“There are still a lot of good people in the world,” Angela added.
Sure, because a retired UMass professor has just deposited $ 5,000 into his education account. As of Thursday, the balance stood at $ 28,970.