Although Joseph Goncalves '14 of Dorchester, Mass., didn't consider himself a leader in high school, all that changed at MCLA. His experiences on campus led him to stage a play over the summer that he wrote, directed and produced for Boston's Strand Theater.
"It was an amazing experience, and one I will remember for the rest of my life. I learned a lot throughout the process," Goncalves said. "My team consisted of me, myself and I, and it was tough. I learned to never give up, because it's not my character. I worked with new people, something I was very nervous to do. I raised all of the money to provide my production with a theater, and other needs. Seeing my production come to life was an indescribable feeling and I knew then that this was meant for me."
It took Goncalves (pictured above, on the far left, with the play's cast) about 10 months to write the play.
"I started in August of 2011. I never took a break because I knew the writing had to be perfect. My writing also has to have some connection to my life, so it comes pretty easily to me. I also wrote about various people in my life. Collecting their stories and forming them into dialogue was an amazing learning experience."
Goncalves, an English major, called his play, "Through Struggle, I Fought. I Conquered." It's about a young, aspiring writer raised by a single mother. His second production, the story was inspired by his life. With the help of family, friends, as well as MCLA faculty and staff, Goncalves raised the money to put on the production within two months.
His current project is a Web series. Slated to start in January 2013, Goncalves is writing the production - about four New York roommates - with one of the actors from his play. To generate interest, they will enter the series into film festivals.
"It's going to cover a lot of topics we feel people go through every day. We just hope to entertain people and hopefully see it on television."
Before arriving on campus as a freshman several years ago, "I was always the shy one, but I stepped out of my comfort zone," Goncalve said. "Being the co-president of the Cape Verdean Student Alliance, a club that I started, has helped me a lot. Being on the E-board of NeXXus [step team] has taught me to become a huge leader. Along with that position come responsibilities. Being a positive role model for future students is something amazing."
In addition to the Cape Verdean Student Alliance and NeXXus, Goncalve also is active in the Slam Poetry club, the Dance Company, as a Pathways program volunteer, and he serves as an Admissions ambassador and a peer advisor.
"I'm always doing something," he said. "I love bringing students to MCLA because it is such a great school with many opportunities. I also love mentoring first-year students, so that they can get involved and become positive leaders."
Goncalves said the best thing about MCLA is the sense of community and support he finds on campus. He recommends the College to all, "Because there is something at MCLA for everyone. There is room for everyone to succeed and follow their dreams."