Rialto Now “Spotlight” on Former Rialto Unified Student Anahi Velasco

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Anahi Velasco

When it comes to what types of stories drive traffic (people reading our blog) negative or stories of gloom and doom are the ones that drive people to your site. Even the larger media sources know that a hard hitting story of corruption or illegal activities will be very highly seen. What I love about our audience is that these “Spotlight” stories are all positive and you guys and gals read them just as much as the latest scandal to hit a local area here in Rialto.

We met Anahi Velasco through the personal Social Media post of Rialto Unified School District Public Relations Director Syeda Jafri she took a picture of some former students at Coffee Nutzz in Rialto and spoke about how Rialto grads are effecting and changing the world we live in. Well we reached out to Anahi and asked if she would participate in our “Spotlight” and she jumped at the chance.

Here you go:

Rialto Now – Who raised you? What were the occupations of your parents/caregivers?

Anahi Velasco – My parents worked hard to provide everything they could for us to succeed. My mom has generally worked at factories and my dad has been on disability since I was like 10 years old or so. We also created our own family-run business in San Bernardino to be able to afford a roof on our heads, food on the table and clothes on our back. I started working there when I was 12 and stopped when my school load increased dramatically during my junior year in high school.

Rialto Now – Pets? Are you a dog or cat person?

Anahi Velasco – I’m definitely a dog person!! I have my eleven-year old Chihuahua named Mini-Mi who had a very difficult time understanding that I wouldn’t be home anymore. When I moved out my first year of college, my mom told me that she would hide under the BBQ grill and wouldn’t come out to eat. My mom had to literally put food and water under the BBQ in order for her to actually eat. It was very sad! To my surprise, she somehow got pregnant (I am saying somehow because I thought she was too old to have more puppies), and had three puppies. One of those puppies looked identical to her when she was a puppy. I decided to keep her and name her “Bella” because she was as beautiful as her mother. 

Rialto Now – What schools did you attend?

Anahi Velasco – Dunn Elementary School, Kolb Middle School and Eisenhower High School!

Rialto Now – What was your favorite year of school? What was your favorite subject?

Anahi Velasco – My favorite subject was chemistry because the teacher challenged us. Her goal was to prepare us for college, not for high school graduation. She was a great mentor for me who taught me the real value of family time. It’s because of her that I began to strengthen my relationship with my parents and opened up more conversations with them about what I’m doing at school and what I plan to do for my future.

Rialto Now – What are you passionate about?

Anahi Velasco – This is probably the most difficult question to ask me. I am passionate about so many things which is my biggest problem. If I had to choose one area that I’m passionate about though, it’d be education. In order to change the world, we need to be educated. I’m not only referring to our educational system though, I’m also talking about the education we receive at home. That education is the most important education that we’ll ever receive. 

Rialto Now – What did you love about living in Rialto?

Anahi Velasco – I loved knowing that we have people from different cultures who get along. We have respect for each other’s cultures. I especially love the community-wide events because that’s when you see everyone come together. 

Rialto Now – Where did you hang out in Rialto?

Anahi Velasco – I think I spent most of my time at Eisenhower! I had honors classes, AP classes and I was also enrolled at San Bernardino Valley College. I was at Eisenhower for most of my day to catch up on my homework, attend meetings, tutor other students, listen to my mentors or lead workshops. I had created a student-run organization with my friends and Mr. G, the former Career Center Technician at Eisenhower HS. So a lot of times I was running around on campus doing something for that organization. I also had an internship at Channel 3 with Gabriel Felton and an internship at the Rialto Unified School District, so I’d be there too throughout the week.

Rialto Now – Where was your favorite place to eat in Rialto?

Anahi Velasco – I can’t decide between George’s Burgers or a small taco place near the liquor store and the laundry mat. I love George’s Burger’s Swiss Burger and fries, yet I also loved the small talks that I had with the wonderful lady at the taco place. My mom would leave money with her so that I can stop by and eat quickly if I was going to stay at school late. She was always very kind and asked me questions about my future. She doesn’t work there anymore, but I’ll never forget her! 

Rialto Now – Who are the top 2 people that influenced you here in Rialto?

Anahi Velasco – I can’t name 2 because there have been so many people in my life that have had a huge impact on my life and it wouldn’t be fair. They know who they are.

Rialto Now – Tell us about college. What school are you at? What is your major? Best thing about college & worst thing about college?

Anahi Velasco – I’m double majoring in Communications with a concentration in Public Relations and Radio – TV – Film at California State University, Fullerton. The best thing about college is the amount of support professors and staff offer me. They are my best resources and always make time to meet with me if I need their guidance. They have experience in their fields and have lots of connections. The worst thing about college is parking and finding a nice affordable place to live (finding roommates too!)

Rialto Now – If money wasn’t an issue what would be your dream forever job?

Anahi Velasco – I don’t think I’ve ever realistically thought of money as being one of the biggest factors of what my “dream job” would be. I’ve listened to so many high-level executives say over and over again that we need to follow our passion and money would come after. So without saying any position titles or specific occupations, I’d say my dream job is to interact and engage with the youth to listen to their stories and share their triumphs. Everyone has barriers that keep them from moving forward, but only a few are successful in overcoming their barriers and using it as a motivation for their future. 

Rialto Now – What would you tell young people today that you wish you would have known when you were young?

Anahi Velasco – I wish I would have been able to recognize all of the sacrifices and huge efforts my parents make for me to succeed. I didn’t notice all of the little things until my second semester of sophomore year in high school. I sincerely wish I would have invited my parents to all of the parent meetings they held at school or back to school nights. I always felt like they were too busy or would be tired to attend, so I didn’t invite them.

During my junior and senior year in high school, they took me everywhere. If I had a meeting, they were the first to offer to take me even though I told them I could walk. I was also enrolled at San Bernardino Valley College program, so they took me to school as early as 6:30am and picked me up as late as 10:00pm.

My mom also tried her best to always provide me with snacks and food. Many times I would be so busy that I forgot to eat, but I would always be able to count on one of my backpack pockets to have some sort of snack. I didn’t expect it, but it was always there. Even to this day, when I visit my parents on the weekends, I drive back to Orange County and find snacks hidden throughout my car. I absolutely love my parents!

I know that some youth have trouble recognizing the efforts our parents back and sometimes even feel like our parents don’t understand us. Well, how could they possibly understand us if we don’t talk to them? If we don’t communicate with them and share our struggles and successes with them? It’s all about communication. We need to communicate with each other and value each other for who we are. I’m not ashamed to say that I love my parents and although I excluded them from certain events throughout middle school and high school, they were my main motivation to succeed.


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