Homeless San Diego students graduate from high school despite the odds – NBC 7 San Diego
Graduations are always inspiring – but perhaps none more so than the high school graduation of students from Monarch School in Barrio Logan.
The students graduated from high school despite tremendous adversity that goes far beyond the pandemic. Thirteen seniors and a deceased honorary valedictorian received diplomas on Thursday.
“Today is a great day,” said Afira DeVries, president and CEO of Monarch School Project. “We have 13 of our seniors officially coming into the world after a really tough few years and having lived lives that have had a lot of trauma at their roots.”
The Monarch School exclusively supports the education and emotional needs of children who are homeless, who live in hotels and cars and who face “family instability” such as domestic violence and abuse. Some of their parents are even in prison.
“These students are truly beacons and examples of resilience. I hope they inspire everyone,” DeVries said.
“I think I’m a little nervous. I’m going to take one more step towards my future than I planned. It’s scary but I also feel emotional, because I’ve succeeded,” said Rosario Alvarez, graduated. She lives in Tijuana with her mother, who said they had to get up at 4 a.m. every morning to cross the border and go to school. She was only 12 years old when she started doing this kind of trip. “Yes, I crossed the border, as if alone, by myself,” she added.
Rosario said it was tough because it’s not easy to cross the border every day and always have a smile in class, but she said Monarch made all the difference. “I love school here…Monarch…makes me a better person. It’s like a family here, always looking for a positive change in the world,” she said.
Now Rosario is the valedictorian for the Class of 2022. “I just try, I always try, and if I make a mistake, I learn from my mistake and try to do better.”
DeVries summed it up like this, “These kids did it and we’re all so proud of that. It’s a real party.”
Rosario will go to Southwestern College and then transfer to a university. She wants to become a lawyer. Her mother was unable to attend the graduation, but during her farewell speech, Rosario thanked her mother for all she has done.