Clovis Unified students honored for overcoming obstacles

Life-size posters are displayed along the red carpet for the 16 Clovis Unified high school juniors that were recognized by the Foundation for Clovis Schools as 2018 Students of Promise at an Academy Awards-style dinner and ceremony March 14 at Clovis Veterans Memorial District. (Ron Sundquist/Clovis Roundup)

Synthia Ramage, a junior at Clovis East High School, struggled with school as she lived with her parents who were both drug addicts.

But Ramage found a way out thanks to her aunt.

“I started high school living with her and I’ve been getting progressively better from where I was,” Ramage said. “My aunt has always been there no matter what, even though she doesn’t have to be.”

On Wednesday, March 14, Ramage was one of 16 high school juniors from Clovis Unified who was honored at the Foundation for Clovis Schools’ Annual Students of Promise Dinner.

Held at Clovis Veterans Memorial District, the red-carpet gala honored high school juniors who overcame unique challenges.

Each student honored at the event becomes eligible to get a scholarship after high school.

“It’s just really nice to be recognized for something like this,” Ramage said.

Christopher Welch, a junior at Clovis High School, was also honored at the event.

“When my mom was pregnant with me, she was already a recovering drug addict,” Welch said “She broke her probation, got arrested again. She has been through a lot of rehabilitation programs, my dad has been through a lot, I have been homeless a few times.”

Welch said the key to overcome challenges is to find hobbies.

“It’s little things like writing something down, playing a sport, drawing,” Welch said.

Adriana Ballesteros of Clovis West High School was 15-years-old when she moved into a foster home after her dad passed away.

“I think moving with my foster mom really helped me do good in school,” Ballesteros said. “I think this is why I’m here today. I earned it, I tried hard.”

Ballesteros, who plans to be a nurse, said she was shocked when she learned that she’s getting the award.

“I wanted to cry when I found out,” she said. “I didn’t think I was going to get it.”

Elizabeth Byrd, a student at Gateway High School, was dealing with the death of her grandmother while at the same time taking care of her mother as she fought cancer.

“I was trying to juggle school and keep myself together,” Byrd said. “It takes a lot of strength, positivity, courage.”

Byrd also relied on faith to help her overcome the tough times.

“If It wasn’t for God and my faith, I don’t think I would have made it through it,” Byrd said. ‘My grandma used to always read scriptures and pray with me, tell me about ‘don’t lose faith because if you lose faith, what’s the whole point of believing in God?’”

Byrd said she plans on going to the military or nursing.

Jacqueline Romero, also a junior at Gateway High School, overcame depression with help from her counselor at school.

“She came up to me and asked me if I was willing to give her some information about myself because she would like to see me succeed in life,” Romero said. “She’s really a close person to me and she was willing to help me.”

Romero said she found help after getting kicked out of Clovis High School and coming to Gateway.

“I started to realize people actually cared for me and there was a lot more to life than just ending it,” Romero said. “I’ve been going through depression since the seventh grade and I didn’t get help for it until my sophomore year when I got kicked out of Clovis High.”

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