By now, many of you will have read this issue’s cover story on Jeronimo Maradiaga ’09J, a remarkable guy who overcame tremendous odds to graduate from Colby and win a Thomas J. Watson Fellowship. I’d like to draw a bit more attention to the other notable people in the story.
Maradiaga would be the first person to tell you he didn’t succeed on his own. He had a high school teacher in the Bronx, Jessica Goring, who recognized his abilities and nurtured them, and a mentor, Ian Rice, at a New York nonprofit, who did the same. Maradiaga had professors and staff at Colby who helped him excel, and who stepped in (sometimes in extraordinary ways) when he needed help. Andrea Tilden (biology), Kim Besio (East Asian studies), and Sandra Sohne-Johnston (a former Posse advisor, now in admissions) were among the people who supplied the extra nudge, the encouragement, the steadfast support when it was most sorely needed. Last on this list, and certainly not least, was a Colby parent, Christie Howard, mother of Posse scholar Rebecca Travis ’07, who made Maradiaga a part of her not-so-extended family.
None of them sought recognition. I credit them here, not just for their benefit (or embarrassment), but to remind people at Colby and elsewhere who are teaching, tutoring, and mentoring right now that their efforts are important, crucial, and sometimes life-changing. That’s why they do it, but there’s also nothing wrong with an occasional and public pat on the back.
Gerry Boyle '78, P'06