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John Adams High School sees increase in graduating first generation students

A local high school is seeing some major success for its first generation students this year.

For the first time in years, John Adams High School is expecting many first generation students.

Savino Rivera Jr., the bilingual education specialist at Adams, says nearly 60 first gen students that are graduating this Saturday.

“This is unprecedented here in the building and it’s something especially among minority students is something they should be proud of,” says Rivera.

According to Rivera about half of those students have full rides to colleges and universities. “We haven’t had a class like this come through Adams in a long time,” he says.

These first generation students say they are proud of their own success, but recognize being first-gen is far from easy. “It comes to the point where it’s like, ‘Okay, I am the representative of the family and everybody sees it and it’s up to you to keep on the right path’,” says Angel Joaquin Vargas, a future Indiana Bloomington student.

Vargas says the biggest struggle was making sure he was still connected with his identity. “Keep my identity as a Latino, at the end of the day I come home to my family, my people, my culture.”

“At times, being the only one that looks like you in an advanced class, sometimes you get that pressure on you and you’re the representative of your whole race,” says Rivera.

Lamyaa Hussein is ready to start at Purdue this fall and she says it’s difficult when parents are not familiar with the school system.

My GPA suffered because of my freshman grades and that’s one of the adversities I faced of not having parents who applied to college and knew the importance of grades,” says Hussein.

Those students are now sharing some advice for their fellow first-gen students!

Think about your family,” says Vargas. “That’s the biggest motivation for me, knowing what my parents when through.”

“It’s worth it at the end as you graduate and walk across the stage,” adds Hussein.


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