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David | Washington

When I was young, my world changed after my father became unable to work and I felt responsible for taking care of my family. This added pressure caused my attendance and grades to suffer. With the help of a caring adult in my school, I was able to find balance, ultimately becoming the first in my family to graduate from high school and go on to college.

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Photo with Mentor

I met Brett, my mentor, through Communities In Schools. Brett helped me prioritize long-term goals like my education while still navigating the adult-sized problems I faced together. Brett helped me grow into a young adult not only with dreams, but with a plan.

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Mexican Flag

My family immigrated to the U.S. from Mexico. When my family faced immigration issues, I had to go back and forth between countries, and my grades and attendance slipped. Communities In Schools stepped in and arranged for me to take online courses, which was crucial in helping me maintain my grades.

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My dad owned multiple restaurants, but a stroke left him unable to work when I was in fifth grade. When my mom also got sick, I became the main breadwinner of my family, working nearly full-time in the back of family friends’ restaurants from a young age while also going to school.

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I plan to study architecture and business in college. I dream of becoming a professional architect and one day owning my own firm.

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Soccer Ball

Soccer is an important part of my life—I’m an avid fan, I love watching and playing the game.

David is a graduate of Federal Way High School in Federal Way, Washington. His world changed at a young age when his father was no longer able to work, leaving David with the responsibility of taking care of his family. This added pressure caused David's attendance and grades to suffer, but with the support of Communities In Schools, he was able to find a balance—ultimately becoming the first person in his family to graduate from high school and go to college.

What is the biggest challenge facing students today?

The biggest challenge facing students today is not having a
strong support system, either from family, from friends or at school.

What is something about you that others don’t always see?

People don’t expect me to have a dark past because I keep a lot of things to myself, and I always walk around with my head high and a smile on my face.

What is one thing your Communities In Schools coordinator told you or taught you that you’ll never forget?

I was taught to never give up when things get difficult, because in the end, I will feel happiness with my accomplishments. This advice still stands true today.

What is one thing you want the world to know about you?

I love to bring positivity to wherever I am.

It was very difficult to balance working full-time and going to school.

How did you balance your restaurant jobs with being a full-time high school student?

It was very difficult to balance working full-time and going to school.
I would start work at 3 p.m. and wouldn’t be out until 1 or 2 a.m. every day. I had to quit because it wasn’t worth it. I later got a different job at
a retail store, which helped me balance school a lot better.

76 %

of at-risk young adults who have a mentor aspire to enroll in and graduate from college. Bruce & Bridgeland, 2014

Why are you drawn to architecture?

Architecture is great to put my creativity to work, but what really drew me to it was working as a house painter. I saw how houses are all built differently and how buildings represent others’ creativity.


If you could travel anywhere in the world, where would you go? What would you do there?

I would love to travel to Europe because I’m fascinated by European buildings, architecture and statues. I would love to learn more about them and see these things in real life, not just in pictures or videos.

What does your Mexican-American heritage mean to you? How has your heritage influenced who you are as a person?

Being Mexican-American is something that I am deeply proud of.
I grew up in a Mexican household where I was taught to always be hardworking and to respect everyone regardless of race, culture or religion. That’s something I highly value.