FCE Class of 2000 • Dominican University 2004 • Former FCE Staff
In 1998, Joyce Latu attended high school in the Palo Alto school district with aspirations of going to college. Her parents–immigrants from Tonga–likewise believed that she and her two younger sisters would all attend college. The Latu family didn’t realize then, however, that applying to colleges necessitated ample information, opportunities, and access. With the help of FCE, all three sisters have successfully attended college, but it took quite a lot of hard work.
During her junior year of high school, Joyce went on a family trip to Tonga. While there, Joyce was bitten by a disease-carrying mosquito, and she was hospitalized once back in the states. She lay in her hospital bed terrified, and the primary worry occupying her thoughts wasn’t the disease. Instead, Joyce feared she was missing crunch time in the college application process. As she resigned herself to not being able to apply to college, FCE’s executive director at the time–Stephanie Wick-Child–walked into her hospital room with college brochures in hand and asserted, “You’re going to do this”. Said Joyce: “That moment really defined the path that I would go down”.
Once Joyce overcame the college application process, she chose to attend Dominican University, in part because it was local (San Rafael). Even so, Joyce struggled with homesickness during college, and again FCE was there to help: Wick-Child would occasionally drive up to Dominican, pick Joyce up, and drive her home for events or necessary downtime.
“FCE was really an extended family for me”.
After graduating from Dominican, Joyce worked in education, including spending 8 years as a program assistant and associate program director back at FCE. Though her immediate family now occupies a lot of her time, she is still involved with her extended FCE family in various capacities. Her younger sisters, meanwhile, are both absorbed in academia–one attends San Jose State; the other attended Dominican for undergrad and is now pursuing a graduate degree.