“CareerBridge Helped Me Go To College”

By Eric Steckel | September 21, 2018

by Nathan Talavera, CareerBridge Student

I am a recent graduate of the Ralph J. Bunche Academy in Oakland. This fall, I am enrolling in City College of Berkeley. But it’s not always been an easy path.

Nathan Talavera is awarded an Eddie Ashley Scholarship

The scholarship and MacBook Pro are going to help me realize my dream of going to Berkeley City College this fall.

I am the eldest of 5 kids in my family, and I’m responsible for being a role model. Ever since I was young, I wanted to be a police officer. I have always believed in doing the right thing and helping people. I know that being a police officer requires good academics, which has been a challenge for me. During my two and a half years at Oakland High School, I did not take school seriously. I skipped some of my classes, I started failing, and the pressure from my parents to go to college took a toll. I felt that I was not being a role model to my siblings and that I was disappointing my family.

“I wanted to more than just catch up.”

During my Junior year, I did not have enough credits to graduate; so I transferred to the Ralph J. Bunche Academy. I realized that this was my last chance. My teacher, Mr. Terrance Holliday, encouraged me, telling me he wanted me to succeed in life. That meant a lot. I worked hard and began catching up with my missing credits. But I wanted to do more than just catch up.

Nathan is a youth soccer referee.

CareerBridge – and refereeing soccer games – has helped build my confidence, in school and in life.

One day Mr. Holliday told me about CareerBridge. He said it would help me develop business and work skills, find internships, and reach my goal of being a police officer. That was when I met with Ms. Margena and Ms. Michelle and began taking the business essentials workshops. They helped me get an internship at CALTRANS, which was a great environment. I was most excited to tour the California Highway Patrol unit.

CareerBridge also linked me up with a career mentor, who met with me regularly. Mr. Steckel helped me focus on my strengths, and opened up scholarship and career networking opportunities. In June, I was awarded an Eddie Memorial Scholarship, which is going to help me pursue my dream of going to college.

Now that I have graduated, I am excited to start college and eager to enroll in a local police academy. I also want to find ways to give back. Recently I helped my friend get his referee license. I want to help anyone who is stuck academically and help them achieve their goals, just like I have been helped by my teachers, career mentor and Children Rising.


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