Meet the Students of 2005


Inge came to this country from Denmark fourteen years ago at the age of twenty-nine. She first enrolled at Lake Tahoe Community College in the spring of 1994 and began to take basic skills classes to improve her English. Between 1994 and 2001, she took time of school to work and raise her daughter. During this time, one of her jobs was cleaning the Allied Health Division of Sacramento City College; here she became fascinated with the nursing environment, and discovered her education and career focus. She returned to Lake Tahoe Community College in the winter of 2001 to begin taking classes necessary to become a nurse. She quickly established herself as a senior student and moved on to discovering that she had a serious learning disability. Inge worked each center to receive instructional support for her academic classes. During the 2004-05 school year, she completed prerequisites for the nursing program at Western Nevada Community College and was accepted as a student there for the fall of 2005.

While attending Lake Tahoe Community College and caring for her daughter, Inge has managed to volunteer in the skilled nursing unit at Barton, and she also continues to work as a volunteer at Tahoe Wildlife Care. In the next few years, Inge plans to complete her nursing program and return to South Lake Tahoe to work at Barton Hospital as an RN. She also plans at some time in her future to volunteer as a nurse in underdeveloped countries, through an organization such as Doctors Without Borders.

Rochelle probably experienced the most difficult period of her life at the end of her freshman year. Rochelle is from a close-knit family of hardworking parents who immigrated from the Philippines. Tragically, Rochelle's mother died just as Rochelle began to mature into a young woman. With remarkable courage and resiliency, Rochelle came back her sophomore year, got good grades, played varsity tennis, and helped her father through the grieving process. Rochelle's high school counselor says that she is "so kind-hearted, so good. She doesn't have a mean bone in her body." Rochelle continues to do well in school, and will attend Lake Tahoe Community College in the fall.

Kristin's parents divorced when she was five. Tragically, her mother died eight years later. Kristin's teenage years have been very difficult, and on her eighteenth birthday she moved out of her father's home. Kristin is a talented musician, performer, and all-around student. Kristin loves to perfect her Spanish skills. She also has enjoyed taking evening History and Physical Education classes at Lake Tahoe Community College. Kristin has become a very independent young woman who will begin classes full-time this fall at Lake Tahoe Community College.

Jason's family celebrated his 18th birthday last month, but two days later Jason's father passed away. Jason is reminded everyday of the often strained, albeit typical, relationship he had with his dad. There are days when he feels stronger than others, especially when he's playing soccer. Jason is an incredible player who helped bring the Varsity team to Nevada State Championship last year. That single experience has provided him incredible motivation to pursue his dreams, and to make his mother proud. Jason will attend American River College in the fall.

Maria came to the U.S. four short years ago. At that time, she didn't speak any English, and was very shy. Her teachers immediately recognized Maria's academic talents and her motivation to learn the English language. In the last four years Maria has challenged herself in a variety of classes that include college-prep math, science, and history classes. She even earned an A+ in college-prep U.S. History! She has taken summer school classes to accelerate. She has been a valuable bilingual teacher's aide. She also spends every lunch period serving lunches in the school cafeteria, where her smile and positive attitude have become famous. Maria leaves South Tahoe High School having achieved an academic GPA of 3.5. Maria is the first in her family to graduate high school and the first to go to college. She plans to start her college experience at Lake Tahoe Community College, and to later transfer to a four year university.
Shawn and Daniel

Shawn and Danie are twin brothers who come from a very close-knit family of six. Unfortunately, their mother died last year in the first week of school. What should have been the highlight of their teen years ended up being the most difficult time of their lives. They describe their experience as "numbing", and recognize now that they were in shock, especially when they came to school the following day. Shawn and Daniel got jobs after school while continuing their college-prep program. They have embraced education as a means of advancement and look forward to their experience next year at Lake Tahoe Community College.

Elena came from Mexico to South Tahoe High four years ago. In that time Elena has mastered English, and has achieved an admirable college-prep GPA of 3.38 in subjects like Chemistry and Math. In fact, Elena has done well enough to graduate a semester early, so that she can work and save money for college in the fall. Her determination to learn English has led her to summer classes, after-school college classes, and involvement in school clubs. Elena is the first in her family to attend college. She will attend Lake Tahoe Community College full time this fall.

For Marcale, childhood often meant trying to find a place to live. After living in a tent in Colorado for a year and a half, Marcale and his mother finally found stability only to become victims of an abusive stepfather and husband. Marcale's school work suffered and his self-esteem plummeted, as he was often called cruel racial epithets from his all white classmates. Only after returning to South Lake Tahoe did Marcale's life begin to turn around for the better. At South Tahoe High School, Marcale has become one of the most productive students of his class. He has taken eleven Advanced Placement tests, and has earned a 3.9 GPA in his academic classes. He is a valuable peer counselor, as well as a student athlete. He will attend Santa Clara University.

Genesis is an incredibly hard worker who came to South Tahoe High School just last year. Sadly, Genesis' mom could not afford to live in Tahoe, so she left Genesis with acquaintances while she left the area in search of work. Genesis was forced to "couch surf” in other people's homes she barely knew. She had no money, spare clothes, or school supplies. Genesis was often under a great deal of stress about her studies, but managed to earn good grades in college prep classes, in spite of sometimes not having a place to study, let alone sleep. Genesis has always worked after school to pay her way, and has had a hard time "fitting in" with the college-bound crowd. She has since been reunited with her mother, and continues to excel in classes like Physics, Advanced Placement Biology, among others. She plans to study Biological Sciences at a University after attending two years at Lake Tahoe Community College.
Christa Maria

Christa Marie has overcome the "self-pity" of her younger years, but it hasn't been easy. In her first year of high school Christa suffered from depression, and subsequently earned poor grades. She had a hard time adjusting to the regular program, and finished the year in Independent Study. Beginning her sophomore year, Christa received news that her father was critically ill and in ICU. With her father's subsequent passing, Christa basically gave up on school. In her own words, the only thoughts that went through her mind were "thoughts of hurting myself, or even worse." With a great deal of effort, Christa managed to return to South Tahoe High School and earn credits toward graduation. As a senior at Mount Tallac High School, she will be graduating this year with a 3.16 GPA. She has learned that being busy helps her depression, and as such has worked hard in school, and even coached JV softball. Christa has already begun to take night classes at Lake Tahoe Community College, where she plans to study Criminal Justice full-time in the fall.

Nataniel is one of the most upbeat, positive young people you'll ever meet. Yet it was only a few years ago that his family suffered the devastating loss of Nataniel's father. The Vigil family had just relocated to the area when, during a winter snow storm, Mr. Vigil was stuck by a car. The Vigil's economic situation has been very trying, as has their emotional well-being. Still, Nataniel has kept a positive attitude that he plans to carry with him into his career as a professional musician. Nataniel will be enrolling at Lake Tahoe Community College this fall.
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