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 In College Connect
When a College Connect student first meets their Writing Partner, it can be hard to imagine spending the next year sharing personal thoughts and ideas with a complete stranger.  


Daniel EspinozaWhen Daniel met Dennis, a retired CEO of a computer software company, he was unsure they would have anything in common. The two quickly found they had a shared love for authors like Paulo Freire – whom Dennis had met and was excited to discuss.  

From then on, as Daniel recounted, “it became more than just a writing partnership because we were able to share our true fears, desires, failures, and what we want in life, what we think life is.”

Daniel’s Story

Mi Pasaje 2018

As a younger student, Daniel struggled with a stutter and found it difficult to speak up in class.  With the help of supportive teachers at June Jordan School for Equity, he found he had something important to contribute to class discussions – and took it a step further.  

Joining the Debate Team, he gained confidence in his ability to express his ideas. This lead to mentorship roles for younger students, a foray into teaching during summer vacations, and a new-found passion for education.

Throughout Daniel’s senior year, he and Dennis would meet weekly to explore these themes as they crafted four strong essays that would become the foundation of his over 30 scholarship applications.  The persistence to keep applying to scholarships not only won him the College Connect Scholarship Contest but also led to his acceptance into the Posse Foundation’s cohort-based mentoring and full-tuition leadership scholarships program.

What’s Next

Attending the University of Puget Sound this fall, Daniel will attend classes alongside his 9 other cohort members, all committed to honing their leadership potential together.  He is excited to continue to begin his career as an educator, and spend the next four years better understanding how he can support students who face hurdles to academic confidence like he once did.

Daniel and DennisReflecting back on the application writing process, Daniel spoke of how much the Writing Partner program not only helped him develop his personal statement but also strengthened his own writing ability – structure and proofreading that will be essential as he begins a degree in Sociology and Education.

Daniel and his family packed up a van this month with all of his freshman door room essentials.  And as he goes off to campus as the first in his family to go to college, he’ll keep sharing his journey with his family and his mentor Dennis. “I don’t see Dennis as just my Writing Partner – he became a true father figure to me.”

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