Meet the Students of 2006


Jennifer is a young single mother who is determined to complete her educational and career goals in order to provide a better life for her son Cy. Jennifer will be continuing her education in the fall of 2006 at Sonoma State University, majoring in the field of Business-Accounting. Jennifer grew up with parents who were unable to take care of her; her father died of a drug overdose when Jennifer was 13, and her mother disappeared by the time Jennifer was 12. Due to the instability in her home life, Jennifer dropped out of high school in the 9th grade, but she studied for and passed the High School Proficiency Exam when she was 17. As a student at Lake Tahoe Community College, Jennifer has worked hard to succeed as a full-time student while raising Cy by herself. She is also very involved in campus organizations, particularly the Associated Student Council and Alpha Gamma Sigma, the college Honor Society. Jennifer has maintained a 3.72 GPA at Lake Tahoe Community College.

After completing her four-year degree and earning her CPA, Jennifer hopes to use her skills in business to start non-profit programs to help youth with family and substance abuse issues. Jennifer is determined to provide a positive role model for her son, as well as the disadvantaged youth she hopes to serve upon completion of her education.

When Roberto's father was diagnosed with heart failure, the responsibility of providing for the family fell to Roberto. As a full time student at Mount Tallac High School, and full time employee at Raley's, Roberto actually managed to accelerate his graduation this year. Roberto's senior year has been an extremely challenging one and now that his parents have been forced to relocate to the lower elevation of Cameron Park, Roberto plans to attend UTI Technical School in Sacramento this summer.

Sarah works full time at the Marriot, helps provide for her younger sister and her sister's four month old baby, and takes evening classes at Lake Tahoe Community College in her "spare" time. Sarah's mother has been in and out of jail and her father is chronically ill. Still, Sarah has a bold determination to forge ahead in life, and to eventually become a college professor. She pays all her own bills, including the rent for her small apartment. She graduates Mount Tallac High School this June, and will continue her studies at Lake Tahoe Community College this summer.

When Nicole's parents abandoned her last year, she had little choice but to move in with friends. Fortunately for Nicole, she has chosen her friends wisely. After years of living in motels, Nicole finally had the stability of responsible adults looking after her. Nicole eventually reestablished contact with her parents, but they were struck by a drunk driver in October, and Nicole's mother passed away a few days later. Nicole continues to live with the same caring friends, and has maintained a good grade point average in college-prep classes. Nicole's perseverance is remarkable. She plans to attend a community college in the fall.

Brandon’s life dramatically changed five years ago when his father was struck by a truck while riding a motorcycle. The ensuing years were marked by extreme economic and personal hardship that ended in Mr. Johns’ death last year. Throughout these very difficult years Brandon has achieved an incredible 3.75 grade point average! Brandon has played football for STHS as well as wrestling and track. He has completed six Advanced Placement courses and four honors courses. Brandon is a very mature, dedicated, and responsible young man who will attend UC Santa Barbara in the fall.

Life for Liliana has been one of violence, lack of education, substance abuse, and poverty. At some point in her sophomore year Liliana decided she wanted to end the cycle of dysfunction and began planning to become college eligible. The next year Liliana earned nearly straight A's in all college prep courses. She has earned a fabulous 3.8 grade point average, and has been a model AVID Program participant. Liliana Juarez is a remarkably mature young woman who will attend Sierra Nevada College.

Aleah finally had enough of the alcohol abuse in her home, so she moved out this spring. Finding a place to stay has been challenging, but years of watching her family's decline has actually given her the strength and resiliency to overcome such adversity. Aleah's life has been one of hardship and turmoil, and she has weathered the difficulties with grace and optimism. Aleah's hard work at South Tahoe High School and Lake Tahoe Community College has allowed her to focus on academics as the solution to her problems. Aleah will attend a community college in the Los Angeles area next year.

Michael has an incredibly optimistic spirit, in spite of the fact that he has had to live with extended family and/or friends nearly all his high school career. Michael's 3.0 grade point average in courses like Physics and Trigonometry belie the reality of trying to find a safe place to sleep while his father remains incarcerated. Michael has the maturity to recognize his own talent and the perseverance to make the most of his abilities. After years of transience, Michael plans to relocate to San Diego and attend Mira Mar Community College in the fall.

Dessah grew up in a low income household with two deaf parents. Her parents lost control of her at an early age, as Dessah began to hang around an older and less studious crowd. Dessah began to use alcohol and drugs to "fit in" and then became pregnant at sixteen. In spite of her poor choices, Dessah has actually become a very responsible parent, employee, and student. She now lives with her parents, and takes courses at Lake Tahoe Community College, as well as Mount Tallac High School. She will continue her studies at Lake Tahoe Community College this fall.

Charlie has had to modify his life in every way since he became ill in the beginning of his freshman year. First diagnosed with a tumor on his pituitary gland, and then later with other conditions. Charlie has continued to inspire his peers and teachers by living his life one day at a time. Charlie spends every day in pain. He struggles to do ordinary tasks that healthy people take for granted. He and his family strive to find a clear prognosis, and have exhausted nearly all resources to find a cure for Charlie. In spite of this, Charlie is the epitome of integrity, honesty and kindness. He will attend Lake Tahoe Community College this fall.

Gemma is a delightful young woman who has earned a 3.7 grade point average, and who graduated one semester early this year. As an AVID Program participant, Gemma has learned the necessary skills to become a successful college student, as exemplified by her earning an A in English 101 this summer at Lake Tahoe Community College. Gemma is also a new mother, and as such, has had to tolerate the criticism of her peers and family members. In spite of these difficult circumstances, Gemma is determined to provide a good future for her young child, as well as herself. She will attend Lake Tahoe Community College and then transfer to a university to become a teacher.
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