Editor’s Note: SOURCE plans to publish profiles on all 8 recipients in 2022.
FRAMINGHAM – Holliston High student Rafael Sousa was one of eight students, who were honored at the 30th Annual John P. Garrahan MetroWest Leadership in Diversity Awards ceremony on April 28 at the Framingham Elks.
The event is organized by the Alliance For MetroWest Unity for the last 3 decades. The goal of the group is to bring together all groups within the MetroWest region to celebrate diversity and to increase understanding of the community in which we all live.
Sousa is passionate about creating bridges within the world around him, particularly in using and further developing his multi-lingual skills. He is committed to studying languages and helping others learn the English language.
He is a native Portuguese speaker, and as such is strongly attuned to the experiences of English Language Learners. He has been an English language volunteer for ENGin, nonprofit organization
that pairs Ukrainian youth with English-speakers for free online conversation practice and cross-cultural connection.
Although ENGin has currently paused operations due to the Russia-Ukraine War, Sousa has maintained contact with his Ukrainian student, who is thankfully for now safe with her family as refugees in Switzerland. In his own school community, he is the founder and leader of a Red Cross chapter; he also volunteers for the Red Cross outside of school as a Blood Drive Ambassador.
His love of languages and goal of becoming a diplomat for the US Foreign Service, led him to apply for
coveted spots in the US Department of State’s National Security Language Initiative for Youth for a summer program in Kyrgyzstan, the Congress-Bundestag Youth Exchange (CBYX) program for a year-long program, and also the Youth Ambassadors Program in Ecuador.
He has chosen to accept the fully funded CBYX scholarship to live in Germany and attend a German high school for an entire 2022-2023 academic year.
He is also a finalist for the Telluride TASS Summer Seminar, which is a fully funded program hosted at Cornell in order to study the ways oppression has shaped social structures.
His passion is building bridges between cultures and people with different backgrounds.
His teachers state that Sousa is also one of the most positive, compassionate, and humble human beings you could ever hope to know.
“Thank you for your leadership through skillful communication, Rafael,” wrote the Committee.
Members of the Committee include Katherine Garrahan, Robert Anspach, Peter Chisholm, Andrew Miller, Howard L. Newell, Heather Connolly, Najee Nunnally, Judge David W. Cunis, Daniel B. Daley, Framingham Deputy Police Chief Sean D. Riley, Betsy Soule, Shayna Eddy, Framingham Assistant Superintendent Tiffany Lillie, Rev. Dr. J. Anthony Lloyd, Loretta Tenenholtz, Susan Masionis, and Annmarie Garrahan Wazer.