Clovis native Andres Diaz was diagnosed with autism when he was just 2 years old. 22 years later, Diaz is accomplishing everything that he has set his mind to, despite the odds against him.
Diaz was one of the first of five kids in CUSD’s PALS program at Copper Hills where he was in SDC from Kindergarten through 3rd grade at Jefferson. He then shifted to 60/40, 80/20 SDC and general education through 6th grade at Clovis Elementary.
Diaz landed back at the Clovis East campus for RSP in junior high and high school. Diaz went to graduate highschool at Clovis East in 2015. But, Diaz did not want his education to stop there, he wanted to graduate from a 4 year university.
Of the young adults with disabilities who do attend college, only 38% of them graduate.
Diaz just completed his undergraduate degree at Fresno State earning a Bachelor of Arts degree in Communication.
Diaz’s mother, Andrea shared her thoughts on encouraging her son to pursue his dreams despite the odds.
“We didn’t really know what he would be capable of achieving, but when we listened to him, attending Fresno State was his dream,” said Andrea, “It was our job as his parents, and as his advocate to aid him in making that dream a reality. Our son has intangibles no assessment was able to define. He surpassed more than we could have ever dreamed for him.”
Andrea and her husband Thomas decided that they wanted to help and give back to the BREN Clinic at San Joaquin College of Law. The Diaz family worked with the BREN Clinic to create a $1,500 scholarship this year for one law student who works in the clinic.
This scholarship is in honor of Andres’ journey and accomplishments. The Diaz family feels it was the best way to have the largest impact on improving access to education for other children and families who are struggling through the special education system.
“For too long, families like ours have had to fight for basic and minimal special education services that can mean the difference between a college and vocational school pathway, or a quality of life that has long-term, detrimental socioeconomic outcomes,” said Andrea, “More kids like our son should have equitable access to a better future without the need to fight the education system at every turn.”
Diaz is now enjoying post graduation life and is already looking ahead to accomplishing even more of his dreams very soon.
“Since my team manager days at Clovis East, watching big plays and listening to the fans cheer is so much fun and entertainment it draws inspiration for me to write blogs about local and national sports,” said Diaz, “I hope to one day fulfill my career goal and get the chance of a lifetime to be able to see my name in the field of sportscasting and journalism.”