Ian Alvarado was stuck.
Growing up with the wrong crowd around drugs and gun violence – neither of which he took part in – molded Alvarado into a person he didn’t recognize.
He didn’t like to share his feelings. He would force a smile and bottle up his negative emotions. Unfortunately, that mindset led to attitude crashes and eventually to a damaging sophomore year, which he said was the worst of his life.
Alvarado leaned on his family, but it wasn’t until he met his half-brother Indy Heyer when Alvarado finally turned the proverbial corner.
Heyer is the one who recommended Alvarado transfer to Spokane Valley High School which he did before the start of his junior year.
It didn’t take long for Alvarado to get acclimated and thrive at his new school.
“As soon as he kind of got his feet wet, he became a leader, super quickly,” said SVHS teacher Derek Durrant. “He started making a ton of friends and really has just become the face of our program (Phoenix Media Team). He’s, always in the front doing excellent work. And he’s just a great kid.”
His mother Edna Alvarado was thankful for her son’s new school and the path it sent him on.
“I see him a lot more focused, a lot more happy,” Edna Alvarado said. “More centered, more sure of himself.”
Alvarado is a rising film producer who spends time outside school recording and editing video. The project-based learning at SVHS helped cultivate his passion for film.
Edna Alvarado said his passions flourished there due to “the fact that they actually pay attention and take the time to get to know the student and to encourage them individually.”
“And we struggle with family issues and nowadays, teenagers are more vulnerable,” Edna Alvarado said. “So I felt like having that close relationship with some good teachers and counselors gave him that stability.”
Recently, he has been recording and editing virtual showings for a real estate agent .
Principal Eric Jurasin said via email that Alvarado “has the passion and potential to make powerful changes in our world through his filmmaking,” and he hopes that Alvarado “achieves his dream to do so.”
Shifting that passion into other projects has led Alvarado to dive into community projects, specifically SVHS’s community partner AquiPor and speaking during an Alliance for Innovative Education Redesign event.
He wants to help AquiPor grow into a larger, more impactful organization to help with stormwater filtration. Alvarado has learned about drinking water cleanliness and its accessibility.
“And hopefully everyone else in other places, will take AquiPor more seriously also,” Alvarado said.
As part of the AIER event, Alvarado shared his personal experiences, which his principal applauded him for, after showing courage and integrity.
While not in class, Alvarado is the captain of the West Valley varsity soccer team. His soccer passion comes from his grandfather and his mom’s husband.
After graduation, Alvarado plans to work for a drywall company while working to complete a two-year degree.
“(I’ll miss) his personality, his ability to make friends with everybody and his ability to just chat with somebody who he doesn’t even know and become friends with them very quickly,” Durrant said. “He is an extremely good listener. He hears people and then communicates his thoughts really well.”
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