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Press Release

Testimonial from Concord Carlisle Scholarship Fund Recipient Jennifer Silva

In 2000, I was awarded a scholarship from the Concord Carlisle Scholarship Fund to attend Wellesley College. As a first generation college student, I approached Wellesley with both excitement and nervousness, barely able to imagine the adventures and opportunities that awaited me. With the generous support of the CCSF, I was able to take full advantage of my education, creating lasting friendships with professors in my field, studying abroad in Southern France, and building an identity as a sociologist that led to a PhD at the University of Virginia and a Postdoctoral Fellowship at Harvard University. Next year, I will embark on a new adventure, joining the Department of Sociology and Anthropology at Bucknell University. After years of being a student, I will finally become a teacher and a mentor to the next generation of American youth.

But the Concord Carlisle Scholarship Fund gave me much more than financial support. It assured me that I had a whole town of parents, teachers, and mentors who believed I could graduate from college and do something meaningful with my life. As I progressed from college to graduate school to postdoc, the CCSF board was cheering me on at every step. The board – including my high school principal; my science teacher (who still asks me why I didn’t choose to study chemistry!); the father of one of my brother’s good friends; two fellow Wellesley graduates waiting to welcome me as a fellow alumna; and even a woman who later told me that I attended her daughter’s wedding while my mom was pregnant with me – were watching out for me as they would for their own kid, always taking the time to send me an email to check up on me or ask my mom or dad around town what I was up to next. Unbeknownst to me at the time, when I accepted the scholarship award, I gained a community of caring teachers and mentors who continue to remind me that I have a whole town behind me.

This year, I joined the CCSF board as an Associate Trustee, and am excited at the possibility of giving back to a town that has nurtured me since I was born at Emerson Hospital in 1982. As a CCSF alum, I can attest that when you give a donation to the CCSF, you give kids in town the opportunity to succeed. You also give them the knowledge that they are part of a larger family that is willing to invest in their futures. In a world that is increasingly fast-paced and impersonal, where the demands of work make it harder and harder to be involved in our neighborhoods and communities, we are lucky to live in a town that remains committed to a bigger vision of “we.” And for the young men and women in Concord and Carlisle who are trying to make their way in such a world, this support is priceless.