Diego Rivera, now 14, has been a part of our Fire Island community since the day he was born.
Diego’s mother Silvia and father Saul are from a small village in Honduras. Looking to escape the violence and poverty she grew up with and determined that her children would have a better life, Silvia endured a harrowing trip through Central America before paying smugglers to walk her across the Mexican border.
As soon as Sylvia and Saul were able to set up a stable life in America and become legal, Sylvia returned to Honduras for her oldest children, Christian and Jenny. Diego was born in America.
Their family life was a struggle, selling bottled water on long summer days and cooking food to sell in the local parks at night. When Diego was eight his parents separated, and he was taken in by his brother Christian, then only 26, where he lives to this day. Diego, Christian, his wife Angela their young daughters live with the Pavlin tribe all summer long on Fire Island. They have been raised as siblings and cousins to our extended family.
Diego is a vibrant, beautiful and essential part of our community. As his parents struggled to keep the family financially afloat, Diego had little academic guidance or support. He is deeply curious, has a huge heart and keen intelligence. Unfortunately, his academic record does not reflect this. Diego is a perfect example of a kid who has slipped through the cracks in his overcrowded, dysfunctional NYC public middle school. This has been painful to watch and peering into the future, continuing on this academic track, was a certain recipe for failure - a dead end.
Diego has a true love of learning which deserves nurturing and support. His gentleness, generosity, and persistently inquisitive nature are just a part of his beauty—his inner strength and goodness are palpable the moment you meet him. He has emerged intact from experiences that would have decimated many young people. He loves to dance, and he lives for soccer. This summer Diego’s U-14 travel soccer team won the US national championship. His intellectual potential is powerfully present and almost completely untapped.
Diego’s zoned public high school in Queens has almost 4,000 students, and to be kind, is not a place of academic excellence or achievement. But he has an amazing alternative. This spring, Diego was accepted to The Calhoun School, a well-regarded NYC private high school for his freshman year. Unfortunately, he did not receive financial aid. Calhoun’s combination of high standards, small classes, and personalized attention will be wonderful for Diego.
We all believe Calhoun is a stunning opportunity for him - a chance to transcend his challenging beginnings and make a new start within a progressive school that will challenge, inspire, support and nurture him in a way he has never experienced in his life.
Diego is a remarkable person, a moving person—a kid with extraordinary tenderness and tenacity. Calhoun has made a leap of faith and extended to Diego the chance he needs to flourish and bloom at this very critical juncture.
Through the efforts of family and friends, half of Diego’s Calhoun tuition has already been raised! Please help us send Diego to a great school where he will thrive and grow. Please help us change a life.
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