Students Rising AboveBy Christin Ayers

by Christin Ayers and Jennifer Mistrot

(KPIX 5) — Fabian Moreno is a tinkerer. The 17-year-old high school senior is recycling yogurt cups and cardboard tubes into a toy helicopter. It’s a skill Moreno says he has been honing since childhood.

“As a child I would always be curious,” explained Moreno. “[I would] take things apart, try and figure out how they would work.”

LEARN MORE: Students Rising Above

Engineering skills aside, Moreno explains his fix-it hobby has been his key to survival. Moreno has been on his own since freshman year, living without both his mother and father. There was violence in the home and neither parent was able to care for Moreno.

“I feel like the fact that I was able to create my own childhood, rather for it to get destroyed by the actions of others,” said Moreno. “Growing up around violence that was mainly on my mother’s side. A little bit on my father’s side as well. But a big lesson that I have learned is that I don’t want to be like that.”

Moreno drew strength from his deep desire to make a better life for himself, and that included knowing how things worked. YouTube became his go-to escape

“It was another world, “recalled Moreno. “There is a lot of things I tried on YouTube to try and figure out. Like, I have tried to figure out where electricity comes from, how cars work. I feel like that is the biggest things I have, like, going on right now.”

Education is now Moreno’s number one priority and college prep programs Upward Bound and Students Rising Above have helped the high senior get ready for his next big project: college. Moreno says he hopes to attend University of California, Davis.

Upward Bound academic advisor Karina Soriano-Ponce are inspired by Moreno’s determination.

“There are times where I don’t even know he is going through something,” said Soriano-Ponce. “Because he is always smiling. He is always coming in and down to business, you know.”

Moreno says the secret to his success at school and life is simple. And he has these words of advice for others who are struggling.

“Be consistent and persistent and just never give up,” said Moreno. “Those are key words that I live by.”