Centennial High School graduate Alejandro Vera has lived on his own since he was 15 years old.
Although his mother wanted Vera to join him in Nebraska when she moved there, he wanted to try living on his own. Vera paid for his living expenses, clothing and food by working 40 hours a week at a local buffet restaurant as a line server, cook and dishwasher.
“Every day I would go from school to work and work to school,” Vera said. “Sometimes it was overwhelming.”
But whenever Vera felt overwhelmed, he would remember the advice of Melinda Daniels, Lincoln Middle School teacher who always told him to never give up!
Daniels was not the only PSD staff member who inspired Vera to pursue his graduation goal. In addition to the encouragement of CHS teachers and staff, Vera credits Helen Kaplan, a counselor at Lesher, an International Baccalaureate World School, for help.
“I always wanted to earn my high school diploma—I never wanted to settle for anything else,” Vera said.