Cherese James, LaGuardia Community College ’21, could teach a master class in grit. As she followed her dream of becoming a doctor, she had to overcome the tragic loss of both parents in the space of a month. The Guyana native worked seven days a week during college and raised a toddler while pregnant with her second child. The pandemic further interrupted her life as she navigated the loss of several family members. Cherese, now studying at Queens College, finally collected her associate degree this spring.