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Seniors to Remember: Class of 2012

(Photo by Lee Pellegrini)

By Sean Smith | Chronicle Editor

Published: May 10, 2012

Academic excellence. Involvement in campus life. Dedication to service. Each year the "Seniors to Remember" exemplify what’s best about Boston College. Meet the Class of 2012:

Name:  Angela Donkor

Hometown: Bronx, NY

Major: Political science and international studies
Notable activities/achievements: Martin Luther King Jr. Scholarship winner; Gates Millennium Scholar; Magic Johnson Foundation Scholarships; tutor at Connors Family Learning Center; volunteer at Suffolk House of Correction; Eagle Ops Program; Student Admission Program volunteer; 48 Hours retreat program; semester at Peking University; service trips to Rwanda and Uganda; research project on immigrant workers in Kuwait
Post-graduation plans: Paralegal at Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison for two years, followed by law school for JD/MA in international diplomacy

Overview: The distance Angela Donkor traveled to Boston College is not measured in miles alone. Born in Ghana, Donkor lived apart from her parents — who immigrated to Italy to find work — for the first eight years of her life, reuniting with them after the deaths of her twin sister and her grandmother, who had cared for Angela and her siblings. Eight years later, Donkor faced more upheaval when her family moved from Italy to the US. But determined to fulfill her dreams of college and a life of many possibilities, Donkor persevered and showed herself to be a student of outstanding academic and leadership abilities. At BC, she has continued her explorations, of the larger world and of her own potential role in it.
What were your most formative experiences at BC?

There have been so many, but I would point to three. When I was a freshman working for The Heights, I was assigned to do an interview with the US Ambassador to Egypt Francis J. Ricciardone Jr., who was speaking at BC. I didn’t know who he was — I had been given the story because the editor knew I was interested in Islam — so when he was introduced you can imagine how anxious I was. What was I supposed to ask him?
But the interview went well. So I felt that this was a school where I could do anything, where I could have access to an important person like this, who took me seriously and was very helpful.
There also was my first class with [Adjunct Associate Professor] Kathleen Bailey, Introduction to Political Science. I was so nervous; I was the first in my family to set foot in a college classroom, and I wasn’t sure what to expect. Then Kathy explained the writings and other aspects of the class, and I took joy in this. I felt I could succeed.

Working as a tour guide in the Student Admission Program — seeing the large numbers of students who had a desire to come here and be part of who we are — also was very important for me. Talking to them allowed me to see BC through their eyes, and kept me from taking this place for granted. I knew it was a great responsibility to be speaking for the school, and that I was an image of BC these students might take with them.
How do you think being at BC has changed you?
Four years ago, I came here with a simple dream: to be the first in my family to graduate from college. Now, I’m leaving with a new language acquisition — Chinese — and am going to be working at a law firm that has a great reputation for its pro bono work — Paul, Weiss was the only firm that would help Thurgood Marshall prepare for Brown vs. Board of Education.

I thought I could make a difference but didn’t know how. BC has showed me the way. Whatever I lacked, this school has provided the resources, whether through an office, a program or a person. I will always be grateful for that. BC told me I could dream more, and that they would support me.

Who have been your biggest influences at BC?

There have been people like Kathy Bailey, [O’Neill Library Instructional Services Manager] Kwasi Sarkodie-Mensah and [Vice President for Student Affairs] Patrick Rombalski, who have been so reassuring and supportive. I also have to thank University Counseling Services for helping me through some difficult times.

I have been able to achieve many things and have had many wonderful experiences at BC, but nothing — and nobody — is perfect. Anyone can have problems. I have experienced failure, there have been people who let me down, or things that have forced me to look inside myself.

But there are, and always have been, people to help me, and I have never let failures or difficulties define who I am.
What will you miss about BC?
I’ll miss the football games. BC was my first real exposure to football, and I didn’t know what to make of it at first. But it’s not really the sport itself, it's that we all rally: When we are all together, wearing our “Superfan” shirts, we are all Eagles, cheering for BC.

I’ll miss the Arts Festival, because it is so exciting to see and hear all the talented people on this campus.
I will miss being part of a community that has my back. It has always been a source of comfort to be in a place where, if I go around the world and come back, I can tell people what I’ve been doing, and know that they’ll care.

Click here to view our next "Senior to Remember," Captain of BC’s 2012 NCAA National Champion Men’s Ice Hockey team Tommy Cross.