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Maidu senior a leader and champion fundraiser

Jose Avalos-Roman set new standard for helping
By: Colin Berr Journal Staff Writer
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Maidu High School will miss its graduating senior Jose Avalos-Roman, a humble young man of exceptional achievements. Dedicated to his school and community, Avalos-Roman founded service organizations, volunteered his time to kindergartens and hospitals and led his student body. He also works full-time at Sizzler Restaurant to support his family. “We’ve been joking about keeping him after graduation because he’s such an asset to Maidu High School,” said Principal Kathleen Sutphen. Sutphen said she was most impressed with Avalos-Roman’s involvement at Rock Creek Elementary. In addition to volunteering his time interpreting Spanish to English for students, Avalos-Roman founded Rock Creek’s “Hispanic Dinner” team, which puts on a large dinner once each year as a fundraiser. He ran organizational meetings and worked with the community to donate food. By its third year, the event became so huge that the Auburn Union School District adopted it as a districtwide fundraiser. After the 49 Fire, Avalos-Roman created yet another benefit, a car wash to raise money for children whose homes had burned down. Having moved from Mexico when he was 4, Avalos-Roman grew up with a mother and two sisters for whom language remained a barrier. Working to support himself and others, Avalos-Roman also interpreted for neighbors, relatives and acquaintances as well as fellow students and their families. “As a kid, I didn’t have very much, so I work to ensure that other children have more opportunity than I did,” Avalos-Roman said. Teachers and administrators are enthralled by his undertakings. “I’d feel sorry for anyone who has to work next to Jose, they’d be overwhelmed!” said counselor Beth Islip with a laugh. Avalos-Roman even took his senior project a step further, tackling the weighty subject of illegal immigration. Through diligent research and personal interviews, he measured its pros and cons, and recounted stories of wanderers who traveled miles to fulfill a dream of prosperity. “His project taught me things I had never known before, such as the incredible hardship people put themselves through to come here,” Islip said. In addition to his other endeavors, Avalos-Roman is also a voting member of the Maidu Site Council, founder of the Maidu Staff/Student Volleyball tournament and nurse’s assistant through his school’s ROP program. In 2010, he was named the Auburn Rotary Student of the Year for Maidu High School. Avalos-Roman said he couldn’t have done it all if it hadn’t been for Maidu High. “They gave me the liberty to take classes on my own schedule,” he said. “If it wasn’t for Maidu, I don’t know what would have happened.” Now a graduate, Avalos-Roman is turning his attention to the future. He is not quite sure what he wants to do with his life, but described passions for medicine, education, business and law. He will be attending Sierra College next fall, with hopes of transfer to Sacramento State University. His recently won Tally Wade and Lion’s Club scholarships will provide financial support to continue his education. But for the immediate future, Avalos-Roman has given himself the arduous task of planning his sister’s Quinceañera, the 15th birthday celebration signifying coming of age in Hispanic culture. “We’ve been planning it for three months already and it’s not till September,” he said. Avalos-Roman himself turned 18 on the date of this publication. The world had better watch out.