A reflection on uAspire's First One Awards

A little over a month ago today, uAspire held their First One Awards right here in Downtown Boston. It was a special evening that commemorated and celebrated individuals who were the first in their family to graduate from college. For those who may not know the good work of uAspire, what they do is strive to provide the opportunity for all young people to reach their full potential by graduating from college, regardless of their families’ financial resources or college experience.

The spirit of the evening centered around personal stories of individuals who stood out and were all threaded with the common theme of tenacity and a desire to succeed. Additionally, these individuals had people in their lives who challenged them to believe in themselves and their ability to obtain a college degree. I have been honored to become a part of the uAspire family through my professional interest of helping families achieve the dream of going to college and my personal interest in supporting them as a member of their Boston Marathon team.


I too was a First One in my family and my story is very similar to the uAspire award winners  highlighted here. I knew that college was important, and while my parents could not provide any context from a college experience of their own, what they did do was instill the importance of having a solid education and working hard to succeed in life. When I graduated from college, I remember seeing the pride and joy in their faces as I walked off the stage with my diploma. I remember their words of "hold up your diploma" and "stand tall" while dressed in my cap and gown. For me, these memories are fresh and bold and they represent a constant flame that has never wavered after my college years and my graduation. My tenacity and desire to succeed is embedded in all I do. Just ask anyone who knows me.

uAspire is a special partner to MEFA, not only in that our missions intersect in helping families achieve the dream of going to college, but that we both are driven by inspirational stories like these First Ones. As we continue to fulfill our mission in helping families plan, save and pay for college, I know that we will continue to meet First Ones, serve First Ones and be inspired by First Ones which will keep us paving the way for many more college graduates to succeed.

Are you a First One? Share your story with us in the comments below. We'd love to hear it.