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Manny Knaggs

Emmanuel “ Manny” Knaggs is an X-Cel Education college prep graduate and a current X-Cel employee. “Manny” came to X-Cel from Suffolk County House of Corrections in April 2011. He finished his time at the Brooke House pre-release program, where he started college prep and began to prepare for his Accuplacer test to enter college. Manny graduated from the X-Cel college prep class later that year, and has been teaching math at X-Cel since September 2011.

“Education reduces recidivism” I wanted to make sure I didn’t put myself in that situation again 

In Manny’s own words:

“While I was incarcerated I went to the breakfast hall one morning and I saw that my little brother was there at another table.  I was happy to see my little brother although not under these circumstances. It was then when I realized that he was following in my footsteps and that my elderly mother, a foreigner to the U.S. who didn’t speak a word of English, was on the outside all by herself with no one to look after her. This thought still brings tears to my eyes until this very day.  I had to reevaluate my life and decided that I needed to make a change.

I found X-Cel Education and started taking college prep classes while I was in the Brooke House pre-release program where I was finishing my time. X-Cel staff and volunteers welcomed me right away regardless of where I was coming from. The day after I wrapped my sentence I was at X-Cel waiting for class. I was so excited to continue my education (this time on my own terms) that I got to X-Cel even before the school opened its doors for the day. I worked hard and found that math was my favorite subject. I learned I was good at it! X-Cel’s program director Don Sands saw my potential and asked if I would be willing to help tutor a few students from our class that were struggling with math. Of course I said yes. There isn’t much I wouldn’t do for X-Cel. After all, X-Cel gave me a chance when no one else would. I have been teaching math class as an employee ever since.”


After graduating from X-Cel’s college prep program, Manny enrolled in Bunker Hill Community College and started working on his associate’s degree in math.  He graduated from Bunker Hill in May 2018 and has applied to four universities, including Northeastern, to continue his studies and earn his Bachelor’s degree.  Manny’s goal is to become an entrepreneur using math, something that he loves to do, while giving back to his community.




What advice do you have for current or potential students?

“Work hard at keeping your dream alive” When you come from a community like I have there are a lot of obstacles like your friends, neighborhoods, family,

and even society that will try and break your focus.  As long as you keep fighting for it, your dream will become a reality.