Graduate Spotlight: Tracy Soe

Alison Macbeth –Asst. Opinions Editor

Determined, resilient and empowering. These are three words that describe Tracy Soe, a member of Rhode Island College’s 2019 graduating class, because not many graduates can say they founded a school.

Tracy was born in Liberia, but fled with her parents as a three year old to Côte d’Ivoire due to the civil war that erupted in 1990. Tracy lived in Côte d’Ivoire, where her mother was from, until 2005. Then, at the age of eighteen, Tracy moved to the U.S. and graduated from CCRI in 2016 before transferring to RIC.

Photos provided by Tracy Soe

Tracy is graduating from RIC with a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology. In addition to her undergraduate degree, Tracy will also have certificates in Non-profit Organization studies and International Nongovernmental Organization studies.

Despite her persistence, Tracy admits that her education journey has been hard at times. “It has been a little challenging at RIC because I work two jobs and am a single mother of two,” she said. “It hasn’t been easy. But I’m grateful that I will be completing this coming May.”

In the midst of her full life, Tracy founded a school called Ghenyonnon Memorial Foundation in Monrovia, the capital of Liberia. The school was founded a few months after her mother’s death in 2013. “It was a dream I had because one of her greatest regrets was education. She wasn’t educated and most people took advantage of her, so she struggled throughout her life to educate her kids. I built the school in remembrance of her.” Currently, the school has 101 children in attendance and fifteen hard working teachers.

It took Tracy five years to complete the elementary school. She is currently working to add on junior and senior high school. But Tracy’s dream doesn’t stop there. “I’m also planning on building another’s school by next year, if God permits me.”