The books and papers sit in stacks on the floor in the library at Fremont High in East Oakland, while many of the shelves are empty. It’s been shut down for more than six years.
The odds were stacked against her: family health problems, homelessness. But Bay Area teen Sabrina Avalos is finding a way to overcome — and thrive.
This week’s Jefferson Award winner is a champion of students who are overcoming great obstacles. Gail Diserens volunteers behind the scenes. She helps students realize their dreams of graduating from college, so they can give back to their community.
One Richmond high school student with a near-perfect GPA manages to get his homework done despite having no home computer and 16 housemate.
On Saturday mornings while most teenagers are sleeping in, Anthony Cornejo, is busy working at a small computer repair shop in Oakland. He also works Sundays at a flea market because his family needs the money. For Anthony, family is everything.
At 8:30AM on a Saturday morning, while most kids are still sleeping, Sharit Cardenas Lopez is busy helping her mom clean a client’s home.
Imani Evans has grown up watching diabetes devastate her mother, one complication at a time.
For Lorna Contreras-Townsend working for Students Rising Above is much more than a job. Ten years ago, she was a student rising above herself.
Andre Gomes is only 18-years-old but he already has hands-on experience with rocket science, as an intern at NASA. It was the perfect summer experience for someone like Andre, who wants to be an engineer.
Deja sums up her attitude this way: “Knowing everything I’ve been through and knowing that I can continue to keep going. That’s resilience. That’s my favorite word, resilence.”