UPDATE:

Pike County murders: 1 suspect booked in the Butler County Jail

Stivers student beats odds, wins state award


Stivers School for the Arts valedictorian Ebi Reyes Leiva is one of five Ohio students being honored Thursday night with the Children’s Defense Fund’s Beat the Odds Award.

The award goes to high school seniors who have overcome tremendous adversity to excel academically and give back to their communities. Winners receive a $5,000 scholarship and a laptop computer.

CDF officials said Reyes’ mother fled Costa Rica to escape abuse and came to America to find opportunity when Ebi was 8 years old. Frequent moves and little job stability meant living out of a suitcase at times, with Reyes attending 13 different schools and frequently going hungry.

Dayton Public Schools officials said Reyes flourished here, attending both Edwin Joel Brown and Ruskin PreK-8 schools, before settling in at Stivers. There, she served as vice president of the Junior Council on World Affairs, competed on academic teams and was part of the National Honor Society.

Reyes said with money still tight, she got a job working as an interpreter at a roofing company to help her family. In ninth grade, she was in and out of the hospital as she learned she suffers from celiac disease.

“Homework that should take an hour to finish took me five hours,” she said. “My anxiety was high because I tried to keep up and stay in class.”

Now Saturday, she’ll graduate as Stivers’ valedictorian at Dayton’s Masonic Center.

Reyes is in the United States legally as part of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, but that status has certain limitations. She said the CDF scholarship will give her resources to attend college, since she is ineligible for federal grants due to her DACA status.

“It opens a world of possibilities for me,” said Reyes, who may pursue studies in the medical field. “Every year we are here is a privilege.”


Reader Comments ...


Next Up in Local

Boston Stoker now serving breakfast sandwiches at all of its coffee shops
Boston Stoker now serving breakfast sandwiches at all of its coffee shops

Dayton-area coffee shop retailer and coffee roaster Boston Stoker is now offering breakfast sandwiches at all of its locations, effective today, Nov. 19, the company announced this morning. “We’ve been working on this concept for awhile because we wanted to make sure we could make the best sandwich possible,” Henry Dean, president...
Thanksgiving weather: Here’s what to expect if you plan to travel
Thanksgiving weather: Here’s what to expect if you plan to travel

A quieter pattern looks to set up in the Miami Valley and beyond heading towards Thanksgiving Day. In the Miami Valley, dry and cool weather will dominate the forecast Wednesday, Thursday and Friday. The mornings will be cold and the afternoons will sit in the 40s each day. If your Thanksgiving plans take you out of the Miami Valley, here is what you...
Couple headed to their wedding killed in crash on Pennsylvania interstate
Couple headed to their wedding killed in crash on Pennsylvania interstate

A New Jersey couple headed to their wedding in Pittsburgh were killed in a fiery crash on a Pennsylvania interstate Wednesday, WPVI reported. >> Read more trending news  Kathryn Schultz, 35, and her fiance, Joseph Kearney, both of Jersey City, were killed in a multiple-vehicle crash on I-78 in Berks County, NJ.com reported. Pennsylvania...
The 11th Annual Werksgiving will be held at Dayton’s newest venue
The 11th Annual Werksgiving will be held at Dayton’s newest venue

Thanksgiving is a time for homecomings, even for rock stars.  The Werks, a rock band with Dayton roots, will host the 11th annual “Werksiving” at The Brightside Music & Event Venue, with special guests, Kommunity Service. Tickets are $12.50 and available now on eventbrite.com. The foursome met at a battle of the bands on...
Pike County murders: Billy Wagner booked in the Butler County Jail
Pike County murders: Billy Wagner booked in the Butler County Jail

One of four charged in the Pike County multiple homicides is now housed in the Butler County Jail, according to Chief Deputy Anthony Dwyer. George “Billy” Wagner III was transported to the county jail on Hanover Street today and booked in at about 5:45 a.m. Pike County investigation: 8 deaths and multiple arrests were tied to one key factor...
More Stories