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Richland School District       https://www.rsd.edu
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Finding Support & Success At River's Edge High School

Sharon Alfaro was eighteen and working five jobs to support herself. She had endured homelessness and changed schools often. The possibility of earning a high school diploma seemed increasingly out of reach each day.

Then she started attending River’s Edge High School in the fall of 2017. A little more than a year later, she’s a high school graduate, enrolled at Columbia Basin College (CBC) and working toward her dream of working as an immigration and humanitarian attorney.

Sharon credits where she is now to the staff at River’s Edge and resources such as Communities In Schools for helping her envision her future and get the support she needed.

“Beforehand, my education was second priority and surviving was first,” she says. “Then I switched it around. I started thinking of the future once again, making plans, doing my homework.”

Paulina Valdez, the Communities In Schools (CIS) coordinator assigned to River’s Edge, connected Sharon with a mentor and worked with her to make sure she had what she needed so she could focus on school. The school’s teachers as well as those in the CBC High School Academy worked closely with Sharon to help her not only catch up but excel in her studies, leading her to graduate in June with honors.

Sharon also had great opportunities at River’s Edge, such as being selected to participate in NASA’s Human Exploration Mars Rover Challenge in Huntsville, Ala.

“Sharon has so much will and passion, she just needed help so she could be successful,” Valdez says.

Sharon plans to major in business administration at CBC before pursuing a career in law. She says she wants to give back and help those in need as was done for her. She’s even pursuing an opportunity to work in CIS and assist students.

“The good trumps the bad,” Sharon says. “There are people who love and support you and want to help you succeed.”