While the sixth annual Fearless First cording ceremony at Mount Holyoke didn’t have an official theme, its core concept was sung by the artist Sia: “Unstoppable.”
95 first-generation and low-income Mount Holyoke almost-alums participated in the ceremony on May 1, which bestows cords in recognition of their unique achievements and challenges. Many were accompanied by family and friends who were there to cheer them on.
There were so many students being honored that both Latrina L. Denson, associate dean of students for community and inclusion, and Marcella Runell Hall, vice president for student life and dean of students, joked that this might be the last year the ceremony would be held in the Great Room in Blanchard Hall.
The ceremony is a cherished tradition for students who face the overlapping challenges of being low income and being the first in their families to attain higher education.
Hall said that she knew the achievements of the class of 2022 came with “many tears, lots of laughs, plenty of late nights and a [tremendous] amount of support.”
“This is a day that you can take a breath and say, ‘I did it,’” she said.
Kelley O’Carroll ’96, visiting lecturer in psychology and education, was herself a first-generation college student at Mount Holyoke College.
“Resilience is not passive — it is quite active,” she told the 2022 Fearless First cohort. “It is work. And you did it.
“Across differences, the power of Mount Holyoke is so strong and so enduring,” O’Carroll said. “The world needs you and awaits you.”