Photo exhibit of Upward Scholars students on display at Art Ventures Gallery

by Mark Tuschman on June 2, 2021

Before the Immigrants Are Us project was interrupted by the pandemic, I was simultaneously doing a project for Upward Scholars They are a great organization providing adult immigrants the boost they need to move up the economic ladder through education and vocational support.

Most of the students they support are struggling with paying for basic necessities such as food and rent as many had jobs that were terminated. Upwards Scholars stepped in to help over 250 students reach their educational goals despite the obstacles many of them faced during the pandemic.

The motivation of the students I photographed was quite inspiring. Ten of the photos I took will be on display at Art Ventures Gallery (888 Santa Cruz Avenue) through June 15.

One of the programs Upward Scholars created to help students earn income was to employ them as Spanish tutors. I had long thought that I should really learn Spanish, and during the pandemic I certainly had the time to employ one of the Upward Scholars students. I had one in mind, a very impressive student I had photographed, Luis Romero (pictured top). He is from Guatemala, was attending Canada Community College and had high aspirations. He wanted to get a Ph.D. in either English or in Communications. 

We have been working together now for about a year, meeting online three to four times a month.  I am sure Luis will achieve his goals much sooner than I will be able to speak Spanish with ease!

You can find out more about Upward Scholars and donate online.

Mark Tuschman is a Menlo Park-based photographer.

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