Meet the Students of 2008


Kyler discovered early in his high school career that he had a passion for learning languages. To date, he has taken courses in French, Italian, Mandarin Chinese, German, Japanese, Spanish and Portuguese. As a sophomore he petitioned to become a Rotary exchange student in Brazil and was accepted. Weeks of preparation and paperwork were eclipsed by the single most difficult challenge of his life: His mother‘s sudden drowning in Lake Tahoe a week before he was to leave. With Kyler in total shock and unsure of what to do, his family rallied behind the decision that he should still pursue his dream. Kyler describes that surreal period of grieving in Brazil as life changing. He traveled to impoverished neighborhoods and began teaching English in poor schools. He returned to the U.S. with a sense of purpose, to “better myself by helping other.” He’ll pursue a dual major in Linguistics and International Relations at San Francisco State this fall.

Brittney spent her high school years trying to avoid going home to her divorced, drug addicted father. School and volunteerism were Brittney’s escape routes and she excelled at both. As an AVID program participant, Brittney challenged herself in a college-prep curriculum that allowed her to focus on her studies. As she watched her father lose everything, especially his health, she was taken in by friends. Brittney immersed herself in volunteer efforts like Christmas Cheer and the Relay for Life cancer fundraiser. Eventually Brittney even volunteered in a massive project to immunize children against polio in Nigeria, Africa. Brittney is a remarkable person who will attend college this fall to pursue a career in medicine.

Josi describes her childhood as “great” and says she was “spoiled rotten” by her single mom and older brothers and sister. Once she started high school, though, events in Josi’s life began to take a turn. Her aunt suddenly died from an accidental drug overdose in December 2006, and her grandfather died in September of 2007 after a long battle with lung cancer. During these difficult times Josi found solace in her relationship with her mother – a strong, protective woman who kept a close eye on her. Tragically, Josi’s mother fainted on New Year’s Eve and was subsequently declared brain dead. Josi and her siblings made the difficult decision to take her off life support and she passed away January 6th, 2008. Josi graduated this June knowing that her goal of becoming a paramedic will ultimately help others, like those who tried to help her mother.

Daisy can be described as a vibrant, motivated and resilient young lady. Daisy’s family is rooted on gang culture, and she was removed from her parent’s care as a young girl. As she saw her family members being sentenced to prison, Daisy struggled with substance abuse but is now clean and sober. On her eighteenth birthday, Daisy was released from child custody and is now living independently on her own. She balanced her employment with her educational goals, as well as helping raise her youngest sibling. She plans to attend Santa Barbara Community College in the fall to study nursing. Daisy is adamant about creating the life of her dreams, not of her past.

Anastasia’s tragic childhood events seemed to culminate the day her father shot himself outside the Safeway store here in Lake Tahoe. Her mother’s parental rights were terminated shortly after and Anastasia and her three sisters became dependents of the court. Years of abuse and neglect in the home of her drug dependent parents had taken a toll on her and she struggled with post traumatic stress disorder in the foster care system. Fortunately, she and her sisters were later adopted by her grandparents who provided the first stability she ever knew. For Anastasia high school graduation is a huge accomplishment. She is pursuing a career in Dental Assisting at Antelope Valley Community College, and plans to transfer to University of the Pacific in two years.

Carmen’s childhood in El Salvador was spent waiting; waiting for her father to finally send for her and her family to join him in the United States and waiting for the economic and political situation to improve in El Salvador. Sixteen years later, Carmen was sent to live with her father here in Lake Tahoe though she really had no connection to the man she knew from pictures. Struggles with language and struggles with getting to know her father proved to be difficult challenges for a shy young woman who quickly immersed herself in her studies. Still, she graduated this June with a respectable 3.51 grade point average and with plans to study at a state university after two years of classes at Lake Tahoe Community College.

Kim struggles every day to do simple things most of us take for granted. Diagnosed with cerebral palsy at seven months of age, Kim has spent her childhood and adolescence courageously battling numerous surgeries, family hardship and long periods away from school. She is extremely grateful to her large family for the sacrifices they have made and she is determined to graduate college to become a veterinarian. An excellent student, Kim’s optimism is remarkable, and shows that her goals are as attainable as everyone else’s.

Thania is a serious student whom teachers have come to really admire. Coming to the U.S. from Mexico as a teenager, and adjusting to her new country and language was a huge challenge for Thania, though she excelled in her studies at South Tahoe High School. She graduated this June with a 3.81 grade point average. Thania understands that her family immigrated here to better her chances of succeeding in life, and she is determined to see that happen. She will begin her studies this fall and plans to become a lawyer.

Karen has beaten all the odds! She was brought to the U.S. as a child, only to become pregnant as a high school freshman. In spite of her circumstances, Karen has shown that she is capable of much more that the average teenager. In these four years Karen has juggled motherhood, a rigorous college-prep curriculum that included AP Calculus and weekend employment to achieve her goal of college admission. This fall she’ll be attending Sacramento State as a MESA participant and Engineering major. Karen is a remarkably resilient young woman who understands how important her education is to her, and to her four year- old son, Omar.
Guadalupe (Lupe)

Guadalupe (Lupe) graduated from STHS in 2005, and has been attending LTCC since the fall of 2005.  She is a first-generation college student and a second-language learner.  Lupe is the eldest of four children in her family.  Throughout high school and her time at LTCC, Lupe has helped to care for her younger siblings while her parents worked to support the family.  Lupe has distinguished herself as a quiet, hard-working student who is determined to succeed in reaching her educational and career goals.   She began at LTCC in some basic skills classes, and has steadily progressed through the courses necessary to transfer to a four-year university. During her time at LTCC, Lupe has maintained a 3.4 grade point average.  Lupe plans to major in Spanish at either Sacramento State University or Arizona State University.  She will complete requirements for both a bachelor’s degree and a teaching credential before beginning her career as an elementary or secondary school teacher.  She is proud to be the first in her family to go to college, and she has obviously been a great role model for her younger sister Victoria, who is also enrolled now as a full-time student at LTCC.
Meet the Students | Student Feedback | How to Donate | Contact Us | Home
® H.E.R.O Scholarship Fund, Inc.