Class of 2006
Meet the Students Rising Above Class of 2006
Nate knows more about cancer than most adults let alone high school students. That's because Nate helped his mother survive breast cancer. The Windsor High School honor student and basketball player says being a caregiver for his mother during her therapy is his greatest accomplishment.
Giovanni is already the man of his house, working to help supplement his mother's income. At the same time Giovanni is maintaining a 3.9 GPA at Eastside College Prep and has three offers to attend college.
Abbas Mohammad knows more about Afghanistan and world affairs than most students his age. That's because Abbas grew up in the war torn country. Now he's going to school in San Jose where Abbas has learned English well enough to make the honor roll.
Evelyn Montiel put herself through Private High School in Oakland. Evelyn travels to school from East Oakland where her parents struggle to make a living. At school Evelyn is the class President for three years in a row and she maintains a 3.6 GPA. On weekends she helps her struggling parents with their small food business at the local flea market.
For two years, Marisol Ortiz-Melendrez was pulled out of school to care for her two little brothers. Through hard work, she caught up and graduated from high school as class Valedictorian.
Amanda Piercy is a young woman who once lived on the streets and now serves as student body Vice President at Balboa High School in San Francisco. Amanda's life transformed during the years she spent at Balboa after being constantly on the move as a child.
Amanda Strauss, a student rising above after the death of her mother last year from cancer. Amanda served as a caretaker and confidante for her mother throughout the ordeal of fighting the disease. A 3.5 GPA student, Amanda is planning for her college education.
Jose is a young man who survived an abusive childhood to join his sister in becoming a Student Rising Above. We first met Jose when KRON 4 profiled his older sister Kimberly Armstrong four years ago. Kimberly says Jose took the brunt of the abuse from a grandmother who cared for them when their mother was shot. Now Jose is a star student at St. Mary's in Berkeley and ready to succeed in college and life.
How does a teenager decide she's better off in foster care than at home? Thuy Nguyen summed her courage and called Child Protective Services for help when her mother developed a gambling addiction.
Mayra Vega had to grow up before her time because of violence in the family and other problems around the home where she grew up in East Palo Alto. She spent time helping her mother cope with disabling depression. Now the two are working as a team to prepare Myra for college.
Andrea Williams lost her cousin to senseless violence at the age of 15. It was that same cousin who helped Andrea move on to become a student truly rising above. She's using her positive energy to serve as a role model as the Student Body President at Balboa High School.
As a child, Evita and her siblings panhandled the streets for money. She says their father would take the money for his drugs. Child Protective Services stepped in and put Evita and her siblings into foster care.