Four Firebaugh students celebrating a double achievement

FIREBAUGH, Calif. (KFSN) -- Four Firebaugh Latinos are celebrating a double achievement.

They are flying high after receiving their Firebaugh High School diplomas and associate degrees from West Hills College.

They are:
  • Martin Reyes
  • Roman Moreno
  • Paloma Llamas
  • Omar Almaraz

  • Principal Anthony Catalan says it's an achievement only a small fraction of students attain each year.

    "It takes a lot of blood, sweat, and tears for them to get there because it is so difficult, and for them to make those sacrifices, it just blows my mind," said principal Anthony Catalan.

    Within the school district at El Puente Continuation School, there was another graduate: Irma Melendez

    Firebaugh High's Omar Almaraz and Paloma Llamas spoke to Action News about the achievement.

    They said they had realized it was a great opportunity and were willing to put in the work.

    "I heard about it by with my sister. She started taking these courses, and me as a sophomore, I made it a goal to finish my AA before getting my high school diploma," said grad Paloma Llamas.

    As first-generation Latinx, both have big career goals, and they knew this jump start would save them time and money.

    Both earned their AA in Social and Behavioral Sciences.

    Llamas dreams of becoming a pediatrician.

    "Since that schooling is already long enough, I feel like this program helped me a lot," said Llamas.

    Meanwhile, Almaraz hopes to become a lawyer, primarily to help Latinos with immigration.

    "I get to make my parents proud. They didn't come here for no reason for me to slack off or anything. They came here for me to make something of myself, and I think I am on the right path," said Omar Almaraz, Firebaugh High School grad.

    The students say they spent many long nights studying to get to this point, and they all stayed busy with sports as well. But now, they're excited for the challenges ahead. Llamas plans to attend Fresno State, and Almarez is heading to UCLA.

    "Our four students are simply amazing. They are multisport athletes and doing west hills, and high school is just amazing, and I am so proud of them," said Catalan.
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