Paving the Way for Future Scholars
The Posse Foundation is a national nonprofit that recruits young leaders from diverse backgrounds to attend top colleges and universities in groups or “posses”. In 2015, the University of Puget Sound became the first university Posse partner in the Pacific Northwest with the San Francisco Bay Area program. Below are letters to Posse cohort 1, the first Posse cohort set to graduate from the University of Puget Sound in just a few weeks, albeit virtually. These letters are from Posse cohorts 2, 3, and 4, who will be following in the footsteps of UPS’s first Posse graduate class.
Dear Posse 1,
We just want to start off by saying you all are amazing! Thank you for paving the way for Posse 2 when we came on campus. I know how hard you all struggled to acclimate yourself to a new space, especially a place that lacked diversity. No matter the ups and downs throughout, your Posse stuck together. We all fuss and fight but at the end of the day we are still a family. Your Posse shows what it means to have “posse love”. We are sad to see that you are not walking across the stage for graduation. However, we are inspired by the work you have done and we want you to remain strong during these tough times. You have left a mark on this campus and we will never forget you. You walked so the rest of us could run. You guided us when you did not even know what you were doing. If it was not for you, we could not have come to campus feeling supported by people who looked like us. I cannot stress enough how grateful we are that we were able to come to a campus and follow behind another Posse who could help us navigate our new space. You did not have anyone to guide you from another Posse and still made do with your new environment. By you making it this far shows the resilience, strength, and determination you all have to be successful, and we all thank you and are inspired by your acts. We were looking forward to graduation “to get Hyphy” with you all, but it is okay, we can dance over Zoom or just wait until the outside is open again. We appreciate everything you have done and wish you nothing but successful and happy lives. We know adulting is hard, but you got this and we believe in you!
Dear Posse 1,
Thank you. Thank you for paving the way, for taking on challenges and accomplishments that have influenced this campus more than you think they have. In the midst of everything, we see you. We recognize you, we respect you, and we appreciate you. We are deeply saddened to miss out on seeing you all walk the stage, but at this time, we reflect on all that you all have done. You were the first. That in itself is already enough to celebrate. You have inspired, motivated, and encouraged each Posse. We all look up to you not just because you were the first. We look up to all the leadership and love you have shown for our communities. You are all leaders, and have shown up even when you didn’t have to. We have seen the way you have influenced this campus and created such a welcoming, brave, and strong space for the rest of the Posses to follow. We will miss you so much, and the Bay Area love is strong.
Simone, Franz, Priyanka, Tim, Mauricio, Meylin, & Laneka!
Congratulations for making it through your 4 years at the University of Puget Sound! I know these years were completed with your blood, sweat, and tears but you were persevering, passionate, and strong leaders in all that you did. I am so honored to have known you all this year, I wish that I could’ve gotten to know you more nonetheless, your presence on campus has made a huge impact on me and so many other people. As you finish this chapter of your life, know that I am so grateful to have the privilege of following in your footsteps as a Posse scholar. Thank you for taking that leap of faith in the Posse Foundation and carving the way for the rest of us. I am so proud of you all and wish the best as you step into the larger world! Shine bright and don’t forget you have a community behind you, back here in Tacoma and as always in the Bay Area!
Posse 4 by way of Kirby Wong
A special thanks to the Posse students who shared these reflections and made this page possible.