Gateway Student Rises above Adversity

Fresno, CA This extraordinary senior decided to leave his home where he was surrounded by gangs and his grades were failing. Now he's considered an outstanding student and will be a featured speaker at his high school graduation tonight.

Meet graduating senior Nich Monacivas, who said his upcoming graduation from Gateway Continuation High School is like a dream come true. "Three years back, I never thought I'd be here."

He didn't think he'd be here, because when he started attending gateway two years ago, Nich had 50 units towards graduation and his GPA was below a 1.0. "It was never hard for me. I just slacked. I just chose never to do it. I paid attention then never did the work."

Nich said part of the reason he didn't try was because of a 2nd grade teacher who told him something he would never forget.

Gateway teacher Shari Allen: "He had a younger teacher in his younger primary years tell him he would never amount to anything. To overcome that and to make better choices takes a whole lot of character."

The choice was to move from his home in Salinas, live with his aunt and attend the Clovis Unified School.

"I do all my work, I do extra work, I'm an over achiever now." An over achiever to say the least, his GPA is up to a 3.3. He works at the school and in the community as a peer councilor.

One of his teachers was so impressed with Nich he gave him his personal phone number. "If he needs anything in life call me. A job reference; I know he is going to do me right, do himself and his family proud," said Gateway teacher Tom Curtis.

For any student that's ever been told you can't Nich has this advice from his own life. "I don't know you have to rally try and put all your effort in it and not give up and make the best things out of what you got."

Nich plans to go to City College and become a Police Explorer. He will speak at the Gateway graduation ceremony which begins at 7:00pm Thursday evening.

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