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Paying it Forward

By Meital Caplan
May 4, 2017

Ainsley Robles teaches at Lawrence High School as a special education teacher and OneGoal Program Director. Ainsley attributes her educational success in part to the role a supportive teacher played in her life. Currently leading one of OneGoal-Massachusetts’ founding cohorts, Ainsley is providing that same support to 25 students, as well as finding opportunities to share the OneGoal curriculum with the entire high school.

When my school presented me with the opportunity to become a OneGoal PD, it reminded me of a high school teacher of mine who essentially played the role of PD and mentor for me through my first two years of college. I believe that, because of her mentorship, I was able to graduate college in four years and go on to get my masters degree shortly after. Knowing the critical role my teacher played in my story, I saw OneGoal as an avenue to give back to my students in a similar way.

There’s no single ‘proudest’ moment as a PD. I’ve had teachers and administrators praise my students for the actions, kindness, and growth they demonstrate in their classrooms. Knowing that my students’ participation in OneGoal helps them across all their classes makes me very proud. I have also seen students take it upon themselves to help one another with classwork and/or homework because they feel a sense of community, and desire to help those around them.

This sense of wanting to help others even inspired them to imagine and execute a college fair for 250 of their peers!


My cohort collaborated with another cohort of OneGoal students (led by PD Maureen Santiago) in the school to create informative presentations on 15 different colleges throughout Massachusetts. These 50 Fellows basically played the role of admissions officers and shared the types of considerations students should be cognizant of as they’re making their college decisions.


For me & Maureen, this event was a great way to showcase all the valuable learning that is happening in our OneGoal classrooms, and the progress Fellows are making on their college journeys.


Our Fellows learned so much about the universities in preparation for this event. But in my opinion the biggest impact was with our Fellows’ peers, and the lack of awareness and urgency they felt about college and the process before this event.

I think a lot of internal light bulbs were lit during our Fellows’ presentations and it solidified for them the importance of the work they are doing with OneGoal and the impact it is having on their outlook.

All of my Fellows share the one goal of college graduation, but their paths to get there are very different. Thinking towards the future of this group, my hope for my Fellows is that they remain fiercely passionate, grounded in their motivation, resilient when confronted with challenges, and that they know there is a seat for them at any and every table they are willing to fight to be at. I hope to see them as strong pillars in our community who are uplifting the generations to follow.