Nazario stands out in almost every opportunity he has to engage with others. He flourishes in social situations and is a natural leader, adapting quickly to most environments. From a young age, he played multiple instruments for his local church band and participated in church events. His strong sense of community also led him to volunteer for the Red Cross, coordinating blood drives and hosting fundraising events at his school. He received an award of acknowledgment for High Honors and a Certificate of Recognition from the City of Los Angeles for his accomplishments in being an outstanding student. He did all this while maintaining a 4.2 GPA and staying highly engaged with Fulfillment Fund — and this was just during high school!
As an Ambassador School of Global Leadership alumnus (‘21), Nazario received support from Fulfillment Fund since he was a ninth grader through in-classroom lessons and transitioned to more personalized support while he was in 11th and 12th grade. During this time, we learned that Nazario wanted to make his family proud and be a role model to his younger siblings as the first in his family to go to college.
His last high school years were during the height of the pandemic, which impacted his family by adding to their financial burden. Nazario’s father was the family’s sole breadwinner, supporting his family here and back home in Mexico. Like many of our families, his father’s work hours were reduced, and his income significantly decreased, making the cost of college seem like an even steeper price tag.
The fact that I’m attending college is a big step for my family and me. The next step is graduating.
Nazario and his Fulfillment Fund College Counselor prioritized different ways to finance his education, applying to almost every option he was presented with, including private colleges. With his ambitious goal to pursue Cognitive Brain Science and a solid academic and extracurricular track record, he was a strong candidate. In the spring of 2021, he received a full-ride offer from his first-choice college, Tufts University.
The transition from high school to college was a new challenge. “On move-in day, I witnessed a multitude of parents helping their children move into their new housing, reminding them that they were not alone,” Nazario recalls. ”I felt alone in Massachusetts.” This would be one of the most significant adjustments he faced without the comfort of his family. He had to rebuild a new community for himself out east.
I found other students like me — first-generation, low-income students from diverse backgrounds. My support system turned out to be new friends who were similar to me in various ways, from personality to social status, [and] counselors.
As a resourceful student, he is taking full advantage of the webinars and workshops provided by our College Success Program. Nazario feels they help him build skills to thrive in the “real world,” engaging in our Career Expo, mock interviews, financial literacy, and time management lessons. He also discusses the importance of his wellness checks with his Fulfillment Fund College Success Advisor. “[They] remind me of the goals I want to achieve and feed me the enthusiasm and strength to keep going,” Nazario says, “knowing that you are the first to pave the way for the rest of your family, it motivates you to continue for the sake of your loved ones.”
After his first year away at Tufts, he’s staying on track with his school work and financial needs and finding his community. He’s excited about his future both in and outside of college, but most of all, he can’t wait to make his family proud.
STORY UPDATE: Nazario is in his third year at Tufts University, transitioning his studies to Business Finance and Computer Science, taking courses over the summer, and applying for internships. He is also currently taking an online course at Harvard on Computer Science, learning programming, data structures, resource management, software engineering, and web development.