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RIDGEFIELD — It was 2005 and Susie Da Silva was on stage in the auditorium at Central Connecticut State University. As her parents, husband and daughter looked on, Da Silva received her doctorate degree in elementary and bilingual education.
Da Silva is not only the first person in her family to receive a doctorate, but the first in her family to complete college. Her parents, who were poor, uneducated farmers in Portugal, came to the United States in 1974 when her mother was six months pregnant with her. They sought a better life and medical care for her sister, who was very sick. She said her parents have always instilled in her the importance of getting an education and to appreciate all opportunities she was given.