Categories: Student Story

Originally from Peru, Brian came to the United States seven years ago seeking a better life. And while it’s been a struggle to get where he is now, he feels like he’s finally on track to creating a brighter future for himself and his family.

After spending years working low paying jobs in various restaurants, Brian knew that college was the answer to finding something better. He couldn’t afford to attend a four-year institution, so he enrolled at Spokane Community College, not knowing that it would be the decision that ultimately set him on the path towards his future. Brian says, “I felt like I belonged,” and he loved being a part of the SCC community. In fact, he was so engaged with campus life that he became active in student government and worked to improve life for his fellow students.  Along the way, he also met and fell in love with his wife, and now they have three beautiful children!

But that doesn’t mean the path has been smooth. With both Brian and his wife in school full time at SCC and working, as well as juggling raising kids, he admits that there were days “when I could barely afford the gas to get to school.” Neither he nor his wife receive any financial support from their families, so they are on their own to pay for school and daily living expenses. Textbooks were a luxury they couldn’t afford, so Brian spent his time looking for older editions that had been posted online, or checking them out from the library, if they were available. He couldn’t afford new clothes, so even during Spokane’s long winter, he had just a single pair of shorts to wear.

Receiving the Spokane Valley Fire Department scholarship was life changing for Brian and his wife. In addition to finally being able to buy books for his classes, Brian was even able to get a pair of long pants! But just as importantly, it showed him that someone believed in him, which “helped me believe in myself.” He was committed to proving that the scholarship was a worthwhile investment, so he worked hard and managed to graduate early, in just a year and a half, all while maintaining a 4.0 GPA!

After graduation, Brian transferred to Eastern Washington University and is now just a year away from graduating with a Bachelor of Science in Computer Science. His wife also transferred to EWU and is graduating this quarter from the Special Education program.  Brian has maintained his high GPA and has qualified for the Dean’s List every quarter.  Thanks to his involvement in student government at SCC, he was able to get a job as a Program Coordinator with the Chicano Studies Program at EWU, and he loves being a resource and source of support for other students.

While Brian acknowledges that it’s still tough to make ends meet and juggle his responsibilities to school, work and family, he says that “life has already gotten better,” and he knows that he is on his way to a successful career and future. He is grateful for both the financial and emotional support the SVFD provided, because it helped him realize that “just because it’s not easy doesn’t mean it’s not possible.”

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