With help from Minds Matter, East Boston students gain acceptance to prestigious colleges


All of the students were enrolled in a mentorship program at Minds Matter of Boston

Boston, MA (May 31, 2022) – After a grueling two years of pandemic-interrupted learning, seven East Boston students overcame the odds to gain admission to top universities with the help of a mentoring program – Minds Matter Boston – which guided these students through the emotional and academic ups-and-downs of COVID.

Wilmer Gonzales (East Boston/Excel Academy Charter High School), was accepted into Bentley University;

Gisselle Gonzales (East Boston/Match Charter Public High School) will attend Brown University;

Angie Quiroz (Chelsea), who attended Excel Academy Charter High School, will study at Bryn Mawr College on a prestigious Posse Scholarship;

Janise Bonilla (East Boston/Excel Academy Charter High School) will attend Boston University;

Melanie Cadavid (East Boston/Excel Academy Charter High School) will study at Northeastern University;

Amina Addaberkane (East Boston/Excel Academy Charter High School) will attend Tufts University; and

Jace Wai (East Boston/East Boston High School) will also attend Tufts University have both accepted places at Tufts University.

With the support of mentors from Minds Matter Boston (MMB), these talented and driven seniors are preparing for college life and the opportunity to reach their full potential.

MInds Matter
Minds Matter of Boston

Minds Matter Boston is a mentoring organization devoted to helping low-income BPS students gain acceptance to college. At MMB, these students were connected with two mentors who met every Saturday for three hours, including virtually throughout the pandemic. Through the program, students were also able to attend summer classes at prestigious colleges, which introduced them to new experiences and acted as a catalyst for their enthusiasm to pursue a four-year degree.

Volunteers from various Boston businesses and organizations dedicate hundreds of hours over three years to guide their mentees through college prep, as well as helping them to navigate how to apply for colleges and secure grants and scholarships. This commitment has resulted in 100% of MMB graduates gaining admission to four-year colleges. In addition, $1.4 million in scholarships was awarded to MMB graduates in 2021 alone.

The students credit the mentoring they received from MMB as crucial to navigating the unique and difficult challenges posed by spending their last two years of high school entirely in a pandemic learning environment.

“These students’ stories encapsulate what we do at Minds Matter of Boston,” said Executive Director Rachel Kanter. “Their determination and talent, coupled with the support and advice of their mentors, allowed them to excel in school and in their communities. We are so excited to see how each of them applies their talent and passion in the next stage of their education.”

To learn more about MMB and how to get involved, visit https://www.mindsmatterboston.org/

East Boston Students Thrive Minds Matter
Collage by Frank Conte; Photographs provided by Slowey McManus Communications and Minds Matter of Boston

About Minds Matter of Boston

Minds Matter Boston connects driven and determined students from low-income families in the Greater Boston area with the people, preparation, and possibilities to succeed in college, create their future, and change the world. Since our founding in Boston nearly 20 years ago, Minds Matter Boston has achieved remarkable and consistent success – 100% of our students have been accepted into a four-year college, and 97% of alumni are still enrolled or have graduated from college.