HOLYOKE, MA (WGGB/WSHM) -- It's high school graduation season and many local seniors are heading off to do big things. Among them is a set of twins making a remarkable journey from Haiti to Holyoke to Howard University.
“Education is power, knowledge is power,” Thamarre Laroche said.
Twins Thamarre and Angela Laroche of Holyoke landed a four-year scholarship to Howard University in Washington, D.C. Their road to success started in Haiti. At just five years old, the girls and their mother moved to the United States. Their first school experience was at E.N. White School in Holyoke.
“English was not our first language, so when we came down here for our educational system, we were obviously placed in ESL classes, maybe like the basic and stuff like that because we had to learn the culture all over again,” Thamarre Laroche added.
After excelling throughout elementary school, the Laroche twins attended the Paulo Freire Social Justice High School in Chicopee, where Angela was named salutatorian this year. All of this was achieved while working and taking classes at Holyoke Community College.
“When we saw the opportunity for dual enrollment, where we would take college credit course at a high school level, we jumped on that opportunity. I mean, like who wouldn't, so when we jumped on that opportunity, were able to rack up approximately 30 credits,” Thamarre Laroche explained.
That's not all. Despite the setbacks of the pandemic, the Laroche twins were accepted into all 64 schools they applied to, earning them a total of $850,000 in scholarships each. They both selected Howard University in Washington, D.C. and at 18 years old, their goals keep growing.
“We both plan to open up a family business in the future, which is going to be a law firm,” Angela Laroche said.
Though they both plan to go into the field of law, their passions are different.
“I'm really invested in like domestic relations and becoming a family attorney and specializing in family divorces, child support, and custody battles because being raised by a single mother, I saw her struggle by not having an active second parent. It really affected me,” Angela Laroche added.
Her sister, Thamarre, said being a lawyer has always been a long-term goal.
“Becoming a lawyer was dawned in my heart for so long even as a child. I'm really focusing in more on immigration and criminal law,” Thamarre Laroche
The Laroche twins scholarship to Howard will cover tuition for four years. Expenses like room and board and books are not paid for, so they're hoping the western Massachusetts community can help.
“We currently have the Laroche Tuition. It's set up at Westfield Bank for donations towards making our Howard dream more possible and affordable,” Thamarre Laroche noted.