Jilda (Pacheco) Collins was the daughter of Maria (de Braga) and Albano Carvalho Pacheco. She is related to me through my great grandfather, Jozimas de Braga. She is his 3rd great niece. According to her cousin, Jilda’s intelligence was legend and she was spoken of with high regard. Jilda excelled in school and graduated from both high school and college, a feat most of the descendants of my Azorean tree did not accomplish until the 1950s.
Grammar School Smarts
Even as a child, her intelligence shone through. At a young age, she had a penchant for for writing and the confidence to share it.
At 13, she contributed to the Fall River Globe newspaper’s “Miss Lee’s Letter Box” writing stories which may or may not be about her own experiences. Not only did she get her stories published, but they won contests, too!
“Baby’s Garden” is one of her prize winners:
In June of 1923, Jilda was one of 22 students who were promoted from William J. Wiley Grammar School. The group even got their picture in the local newspaper.
A High School Graduate
In the 1920s, It wasn’t common among my Azorean American relatives for males to graduate from high school, let alone females. Girls were lucky to get though 6 years of school before their academic careers were over. Some got less, some got more. None came home with their diploma.
In 1927, Jilda became the first high school graduate on the de Braga side of the tree. She finished at Durfee High in Fall River, Massachusetts with honors and with a scholarship.
She made the most of her time in school participating in various activities. She was in the Chemistry Club, French Club, and on the yearbook staff.
Her College Career
In autumn of 1927, she left for Middlebury College in Middlebury, Vermont. She was on her own at the private liberal arts college.
She excelled in her scholarly pursuits. Somehow she found time for extracurricular activities. She was on the Varsity Debating Team, French Club, English Club, and the Drama Club. She was Vice President of the Y.M.C.A Cabinet. She ended her schooling fluent in French.
Under her college yearbook photo there was a quote which contained these words “…spirited–and always interesting–conversation flows smoothly in good French or better English, and we are astounded at how well-versed she is in all subjects.” It finishes with “Intriguing, individual, exotic; these words belong to Jilda.”
She graduated from Middlebury College in 1931. In 1938, she married another graduate of the same college, Paul Collins.
Jilda, we salute you for your academic achievements and for being the first in the family to bring home a college diploma.
Who was the first high school or college graduate in your tree? Tell us about them in the comments.
This post was written for the 52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks Week 4 prompt: Education.