One of the first graduates of Bard Microcollege Holyoke, Candice Pelletier is now completing her Bachelor’s degree at Smith College on a full scholarship. Like many women who find The Care Center, Candice’s path to college took a few unusual turns. Despite Candice’s straight A’s in high school, she could not find financial aid or scholarships she qualified for. She describes, “I gave up on high school because I realized that what I had been told the majority of my life had all been lies, and I had no real way of going to college.”
Everything changed when Candice’s mother told her about the Clemente Course in the Humanities offered at The Care Center. She had been living paycheck to paycheck working at a string of fast food restaurants. “I had truly given up on the idea of my getting an education, and The Care Center opened all those doors back up for me,” said Candice. After completing the Clemente Course, Candice was accepted to join the inaugural cohort of Bard Microcollege Holyoke. Candice explained in an article by the Valley Advocate, “I felt almost whole again… reading Plato for the first time, learning about philosophy — stuff I didn’t have any inkling of … It was just amazing to be told you have all of these options. You don’t have to worry about money for books or transportation. You just have to worry about getting yourself out of bed and [going] to class. It just opened all of these doors and keeps opening these doors.”
Candice earned her associate degree in 2018 from Bard Microcollege Holyoke and is on track to graduate from Smith College with a bachelor’s degree in 2021. She is majoring in Government and minoring in English. She completed a successful internship at City Hall and was selected by the Holyoke Chamber of Commerce to manage the Holyoke Farmers’ Market. After graduating, Candice plans to become a political journalist.
This article was originally posted at The Care Center.