For the Ayala Ramirez family, having the opportunity to send their son Alexis to Colorado Academy in the Sixth Grade is truly a dream come true. “It is a blessing,” Laura Ayala Ramirez says. “I would have loved to follow my dreams, but I never had the chance. Now, he has the opportunity to achieve what I couldn’t.”
For Alexis, who speaks Spanish and English, the opportunity to attend CA comes through financial support offered to select students by The Challenge Foundation. When he won a Grades 3-5 math contest in the Third Grade, his school counselor suggested to his parents that he had the potential to become a Challenge Foundation scholar. After 18 months of rigorous and competitive testing, writing, and summer school, Alexis learned in Fifth Grade that he was one of two (out of 20) applicants in his school who had been chosen for the Scholarship. “When my mother heard, she started crying,” Alexis says. “But I felt proud and really happy, because it was my dream to go to a good school.”
His parents considered only one school for Alexis—CA. His father, Juan, was impressed by the beauty of the campus and the kindness of the people they met at CA. Laura’s concerns about transportation to school were immediately allayed by the school’s extensive bus system. Alexis, who loves to draw and hopes to someday become an architect, was delighted by all the art supplies he found when visiting an art class. He was also excited by the opportunity to play sports, impressed by the English class he visited, and thrilled, he says, “to have my own desk for the first time.”
“CA is a place where you can have fun and learn at the same time,” he says.
The Ayala Ramirez family acknowledges that Alexis will be entering an environment different from the one he came from. Juan believes this is the very reason Alexis should attend CA. “He can gain skills from connecting and networking with people who have different racial and socioeconomic backgrounds,” he says. “This will help him work with all kinds of people and respect everyone he meets.”
Alexis knows that he may face challenges in a new environment. “I will not give up,” he declares. “From my grandpa, who cannot read or write, I learned math. From my mom, I learned to read. From my grandma, I learned writing, and from my dad, I learned to work hard.” And now, he and his family have an entirely new dream—for Alexis to be the first in the family to go to college.