Director, Teens in Print
● Recognized by Mass Mentors Stand & Be Counted
By: April M. Crehan
Carla Gualdron, Teens in Print program director, doesn’t need to imagine herself in her students’ shoes; she’s already been there.
“I grew up here and I attended Boston public schools my whole life,” she said. “It’s tough. We are severely underfunded. I remember what it’s like to feel not quite prepared to enter a college setting.”
“I want them [today’s students] to feel confident enough when they enter college that they’re able to write and able to express themselves,” said Gualdron, who rarely calls herself a mentor.
However, much of her job is exactly that– helping students with applications and recommendations while nurturing their writing skills.
Gualdron’s own passion for writing started before high school.
“Sometime in elementary school, the organization City Year came into our classroom, and a couple of students were selected to write our own story…. I just remember that experience being life changing.”
In high school, Gualdron wrote for, and later edited, Teens in Print, which publishes a student-run newspaper.
She turned again to writing when, during her second semester at Emerson, her uncle was deported to Colombia. She wrote an open letter to the governor about immigration policy, and after it was published online, she suddenly had other students approach her to say they had read her story and express how sorry they were.
“It’s hard to be an immigrant and it’s hard to be in a setting where no one can relate to that,” said Gualdron, whose letter broached a topic many of her classmates had never needed to consider.
“I know what it’s like to be at a school where not a lot of people look like you,” she said, remembering her time at Emerson. “I was the only Boston public high school student in my freshman class… I was in a school that was predominantly white, predominantly affluent, predominantly not from Massachusetts.”
Writing has been a way for Gualdron to speak her truth, and she hopes it does the same for her students. She plans to stay at Teens in Print for the foreseeable future and is working to expand the curriculum into other programs.
“The students are amazing and fascinating. It’s cool to be able to be part of their lives in a positive way,” she said.