SOUTH GATE, Calif. (KABC) — Joshua Alvarado, a senior at South Gate High School, thought he was just attending career day on campus Friday but it turned out to be much more.
He was surprised with a $50,000 college scholarship. Alvarado’s mom and siblings were there to witness the moment, which was a surprise for them too. The family shared a tearful moment.
Irene Rodriguez is Alvarado’s mother. She is a single parent who struggled to raise five kids on an extremely limited income.
“The first thing I saw was I saw he had the check. I said, ‘oh my God yes.’ I can’t believe it. I knew he had applied for it. But when one sees its real, I felt a lot of emotions,” said Rodriguez.
“I think she’s an amazing woman for everything she does. Taking care of all five of us. All of us going to school, doing our own things and exploring our own interests and growing. But she’s there with us all the way,” said Alvarado.
Rodriguez’s husband passed away five years ago. Since then one of the biggest challenges the family has faced is his absence. Rodriguez took it upon herself to work hard and be the household’s source of income so the kids could all focus on their studies.
“It’s very hard. It was a challenge, a very difficult challenge,” said Rodriguez. “I had to be strong from I don’t know where, but I had to find it to pick up five broken hearts too.”
“He always wanted me to push myself academically. To reach higher. He’d tell me to focus in school. Do your studies. Become something. And just to be able to tell him, I did it dad,” said Alvarado.
For the first time, Edison International increased their scholarships to $50,000, and awarded 30 to students across Southern California. It will allow these students to pursue their careers in science, math, technology and engineering.
“Joshua is a representative of our well-deserving scholars, mostly from underrepresented communities. We want to give him the tools to continue to pursue STEM in college,” said Diane Castro, a spokesperson with Edison International.
Each student was also given a paid internship with SoCal Edison. There were two recipients from the L.A. Unified School District — Aimee Perales from Garfield High School and Alvarado.
“Thank you, son. Thank you for being that marvelous son,” said Rodriguez.
Alvarado’s goal is to attend Stanford, major in mechanical engineering and hopefully one day work for NASA.