My name is Sofia Meadows-Muriel, I just graduated from Boston Latin School and will be attending Ithaca College in the fall and will be studying Political Science. I am Puerto Rican and African American. My grandfather who was in the Navy left Alabama to be stationed in Puerto Rico where he met my Abuela. Funniest thing is that he never learned Spanish even though he stayed there till he passed. My culture is very important to me especially now after Hurricane Maria having seen members of my family lose their houses and not having any sort of communication was unimaginably painful. My mom left the island when she was just a child and grew up in low-income housing in Roslindale while my father only left the island to go to college in the states. Being of a variety of nationalities gets complex due on your environment, I attended private school up till 6th grade at the Neighborhood School, which sadly led to a dramatic identity crisis consisting of battle between relaxer and my curly hair. I struggled to understand who I belonged to. My mother graduated from BLS told me of her own personal struggle as Puerto Rican going to BLS as a 9th grader. I pushed myself to follow her footsteps and create a path for other minorities thinking they cannot succeed here. Due to BLS’ competitive environment, I psyched myself out a lot. You would think after being there most of my life I would understand how to deal with the atmosphere, but I didn’t. This psychological game was defeating me until I took a class called Facing History. The class focused on current events, human rights, and the genocides in Rwanda, Armenia, and the Holocaust. For the first time I wanted to succeed in a class and realized my teachers wanted me to succeed as well. It was then that I was able to confidently apply my leadership skills into my school community by becoming captain of the girls Varsity soccer team and Vice President of the Senior class. 7th grade me would have never imagine the leadership positions I was able to achieve especially as a women of color. In these positions I saw the faith and respect my advisors, fellow peers, and teammates had for me and it uplifted my personal being. This class ignited my interests in public service and human rights for it has led to many life changing opportunities for me such as the Topol Fellowship which was created to help educate my school community about the concepts of peace and nonviolence.The second program, the Seevak Fellowship, I was assigned as an intern to the Community Service Department (CSD) of MassHousing, an organization which focuses on financing affordable housing under Mr. Thaddeus Miles, Director of CSD, and Ms. Kara Pillsbury, Assistant Director. With the Seevak fellowship I was able to become a fellow under Makeeba McCreary for the BPS department of marketing and community engagement. This summer I was given the amazing opportunity to work under the Ward Fellowship and mentoring under Senator Sonia Chang-Diaz. With all these opportunities I hope in the future to not only teach about the important of human rights at BPS schools but make sure they are equipped with the same opportunities we have here at BLS.