Students Rising Above
OAKLAND (KPIX 5) — Carlene Ervin graduated Valedictorian from Aspire Cal Prep Academy in Berkeley, to much applause. In her commencement speech, she quoted from one of her favorite books by Dr. Seuss, “Oh The […]
Despite challenges at home, William Varner finished at the top of his academy at Fremont High in Oakland with the help of martial arts.
Living around violence in the inner city is making children sick. Kids living in high crime areas have a higher rate of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) than soldiers because they are living in “virtual combat zones”, according to Dr. Howard Spivak of the Centers for Disease Control.
Meuy Phan is graduating from Richmond High School with near-perfect grades. But her biggest accomplishment may be at home where she has grown up with the responsibilities of an adult.
Now she is the Student Programs Coordinator for the SRA. The program helped her graduate from St. Mary’s College in the East Bay and Contreras knows firsthand that it took far more than just academic support and scholarships.
When Alejandro Arechiga earned a scholarship to the prestigious College Prep High School in Oakland, it was like winning the lottery. He shares a two-bedroom apartment with five people and his single mom works very long hours as a house cleaner, often unable to afford food, tutoring, and school supplies, but now he is rising above.
“She comes home tired and it’s like, it’s been so many years of the same thing going on, just work and work and work,” Alejandro recalls. “It just definitely makes me want to strive to be better so I can help her out.”
Most parents know how hard it is to get a fourth-grader to clean their room. But what if they had to clean the whole house, cook, and take care of an invalid parent? That is what happened to Brenda Vasquez, a Student Rising Above who is a senior now at Berkeley High.
When we first met Walid Zafar ten years ago, he was a senior at Encinal High School in Alameda. He was a conscientious honor student on his way to the University of Puget Sound in Washington state.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports that 30% of inner-city children suffer PTSD. Donza Pitre may be one of the few who was actually treated for it, after she was diagnosed at about 13 years of age.
Damont Hardnett wears a pressed white shirt, a bow tie and a heartbreaking smile when he reaches his hand out to meet you. He is a mother’s dream – especially an African American single mom who has struggled to raise him right.