Foster student’s school feels like home
July 25, 2022
Mario Rader
Grade: 12 School: San Pasqual Academy District: San Diego COE ACSA region: 18 Mario Rader’s story is one of great perseverance and triumph. The product of a broken home, Mario spent many nights homeless, often wondering when and where he would get his next meal. He entered foster care at the age of 11. But his life truly changed when he enrolled in San Pasqual Academy, a school for students in the foster care system. Mario found the family he had always wanted, excelling on both the football and basketball teams. In June, he graduated salutatorian from San Pasqual Academy and plans to attend Cal State San Marcos in the fall.
What was your reaction when you learned you won the ACSA Every Student Succeeding award? I was shocked. I was sitting in my counselor’s office. He said, “Mario, look.” I looked and we just started hugging and dancing. Good news is always the best news.
Can you explain what you’ve had to deal with throughout your childhood? When you’re moving home to home, you never unpack your bag because you don’t know where you’re going to be the next night or the night after that. I slept at a park a lot. And then sometimes people would come and just hand out food. We were sleeping in a five-seater car as a family of six. It was a struggle. When it came to eating, you ate at the church, you ate at school. It’s really the only time you ate. And on the weekends, you really suffer.
How did the foster care system and your time at San Pasqual Academy change your trajectory? It changed a lot of things. It allowed me to be a kid again. I went into this one foster home and they put me in flag football and from there, I fell in love with sports. A couple years later, I had the opportunity to go to San Pasqual Academy. I walked through those doors and there were three people waiting for me saying, “Welcome, Mario. This is San Pasqual Academy and we’re going to be here to support you.”
2022 Region 18 Every Student Succeeding Mario Rader.
2022 Region 18 Every Student Succeeding Mario Rader.
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