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Alexander Alfaro just met all the requirements to graduate from Galveston ISD’s AIM College and Career Preparatory School, and he’s going to walk the stage and receive his high school diploma during January’s commencement ceremony.

He’ll be the first in his family to do so.

Alfaro started his educational journey with Galveston ISD when he joined the district as a fourth grader at Burnet STREAM Magnet from El Salvador.

“Reading was really hard, mostly because I barely knew how to read in Spanish, and then imagine reading in English too, so it was really difficult,” Alfaro said.

Alfaro credits GISD’s Bilingual/ESL Program with assisting him greatly through his educational journey.

“There was a lot I didn’t know, and they helped me a lot,” Alfaro said. “That’s where I learned more English.”

Through hard work, dedication, and continued guidance from caring GISD educators, graduation is now at Alfaro’s fingertips. However, that wasn’t always the case.

Alfaro has had to navigate other challenges as well, such as making sure he’s keeping himself in a positive social crowd, and balancing school while working two jobs.

He switched to AIM after experiencing struggles at Ball High School, and for Alfaro specifically, that switch made all the difference.

“Here it was a little different because all the classes were online, so at first it was challenging,” Alfaro said. “But then whenever I started thinking, that’s when my mindset changed. I’m going to start doing it, I want to graduate – I’m this close. I want a good future for me and I want to make my parents proud.”

GISD’s AIM campus provides unique opportunities for students like Alfaro who may benefit from a school that is tailored to individual student needs and personal development.

AIM is an asset to the district because of programs such as optional flexible school day and its college, career, or military readiness pathways and industry certifications.

AIM Principal, Cheryle Rutledge, has witnessed Alfaro’s transformation and dedication firsthand.

“A quote that represents Alex and his effort is, ‘The harder you work for something, the greater you'll feel when you achieve it,’” Rutledge said.

“Alex knew he had a lot of credits to complete when he started at AIM last year. He was determined to see it through to graduation and he did it! When he came to tell me that he completed his last course, he told me that he is the first to graduate from high school in his family. We are so excited to see where his future leads him,” Rutledge added.

Alfaro’s quest for educational success doesn’t stop here. He plans to further his education at Galveston College soon.