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September 2013 Junior Alumnus of the Month

Hometown: La Puente, California

Current School: Rising freshman at Pomona College

CHCI Program: 2012 R2L NextGen

Throughout high school, Thomas Rivera was fond of the political process and his participation in CHCI’s 2012 R2L NextGen program cemented his dreams to one day become a politician or Ambassador. Today, this student from Bishop Amant High School (BAHS) in La Puente, California is taking steps in the right direction. As a rising freshman at Pomona College, in Claremont, California this future political hopeful is entering school with what he calls “a big blessing.”

Earlier this month he opened an envelope with his bill for his first semester at Pomona College. “I opened my bill and at the bottom of invoice was a big zero. I almost fell to my knees,” explained Thomas. Throughout his undergraduate and possibly graduate experience he will be able to focus on his academic studies without burdening his family with the cost of attending one of the top schools in the nation, according to US News. Thomas is both a prestigious Gates Millennium and Milken Foundation scholar. In addition to receiving financial resources to pay for school, both scholarships have a unique component, which will provide Thomas peer and professional mentorship in his pursuit of an undergraduate degree.

Thomas’ commitment to civic engagement and academics is impressive. He graduated high school with a 4.3 grade point average and his résumé is embossed with activities such as serving as an Advisory Board member for the Pomona College Academy for Youth Success, member of the BAHS Community Leadership Council, Co-founder of the Electronic Gaming Club and a participant of various sports including Tennis, Football and Basketball.

When asked what he hopes to accomplish in the future, he shares his passion for politics, “At Pomona College, I plan to major in political science and possibly economics.” He hopes to be able to continue giving back by shaping policies that directly affect his community, “just like the accomplished Hispanic leaders I met during the R2L NextGen program,” explained Thomas.