Bianca Archange feels fortunate to be where she is today, especially when you consider where she’s come from. Archange grew up in Haiti where there was no “free” public education system. Children could only go to school if they could afford it. “I was able to go to school because of my grandmother’s sacrifice. She went without things to pay for my school and sold her belongings to provide us with food.”
On January 12, 2010 Archange’s world changed forever when a massive earthquake decimated Haiti, killing more than 100,000. “When the earthquake happened I thought I was going to die. There was no food or water for anyone. I watched people die from hunger or sickness and there was nothing I could do to help. I had faith. I had a strong desire to survive and still do to this day.”
One year later Archange moved to the United States with her younger sister and brother. She started learning English and enrolled in Henninger High School. Archange was introduced to OCC’s Liberty Partnerships Programs (LPP) which wound up being her foundation here in Central New York. The organization provides students with strong school and community partnerships aimed at helping students with a high risk of dropping out. “I thank LPP for everything they did for me. Mr. Steve (Steve Wolf, LPP Program Director) and Ms. Heather (Heather Niver, LPP Program Coordinator) were wonderful. Ms. Heather is like a mother to me.
When it was time to consider college LPP guided Archange through the process. “They helped me with my essay for college and helped me apply for a scholarship. I am very grateful for what they did.” Archange was thrilled to learn she earned the Data Key Communications Endowed Scholarship through OCC’s Foundation. The scholarship helps pay for her tuition, fees and housing, and is possible due to Data Key Corporation LLC’s very generous support. “I am so fortunate to live on campus and only think about school.”
Archange’s growth and excellence in the classroom was noticed by many. She was named the Central New York Region Liberty Partnerships Program Student of the Year for the 2014-15 academic year. Today she is enrolled in OCC’s Nursing program. Her goal is to become a doctor and bring much needed medical care back to Haiti. In the meantime she’s thankful to have found a home on the OCC campus. “It makes me feel great to be here. I know I’m going to make it because there are a lot of opportunities in the United States. It’s a big change from where I came from.”