Desiree in NYC | STOKED Alumni and Smith College Freshman


Words by Katie Ferraro and Desiree Perez

Desiree 1.jpg


New York


Year 2



The Posse Foundation recruits high performing college bound students from 10 major cities across the United States and provides them with scholarships to it’s partner institutions. The process of applying for a Posse Scholarship is highly competitive and takes determination to receive this high honor.

STOKED Alumni Desiree Perez from our New York program was a recipient of a Posse Scholarship which was in part a result of a powerful essay about her experience with STOKED. Her essay in entirely will appear in our upcoming issue of the STOKED Magazine.

Desiree is a freshman at Smith College in Northampton, MA. Here is an excerpt of her essay:

“The philosophy of “putting my foot back on the board” is one that governs every aspect of my life. I get good grades but that doesn't mean that school always comes easily or that I have never fallen to my knees and skidded to a stop academically.

Learning Latin, for example, has been a similar process to learning to skate (though maybe a little nerdier). Discussing a piece of text that was written more than a thousand years ago has its difficulties. Over the past four years, I have stumbled through analyses and sometimes made underwhelming contributions to class discussions. Getting back up in those situations takes a little more than just rolling the wheels under my feet. It takes hours of work, completing translations, perfecting arguments, and practicing presentations.  After completing a Socratic seminar, for which I am well-prepared and make strong points, I get the similar rush of adrenaline and determination that I felt that first day on the board.

Skating has given me confidence. It is not necessarily the kind of confidence that promises me success, but it's a confidence that promises me that, no matter what happens, I will try again.”

Katie Ferraro has a passion for words and currently serves as the Marketing Manager in Los Angeles.