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School, work, doing it all on his own: This high school senior has supported himself through the pandemic

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    CLACKAMAS, Oregon (KPTV) — It’s been a tough year for a lot of students in Oregon, adjusting to distance learning and missing out on social interactions. But some students have borne a bigger burden than others.

Xavoer Feaster-Rivera has supported himself through the COVID-19 pandemic while balancing work and school. He says it’s been a valuable experience, basically learning to live on your own on the fly. But he admits there have also been times where he’s struggled.

Feaster-Rivera has been living on his own since July when his mother took a job in California. A Clackamas High School junior at the time and already 18, he asked to stay in Oregon and finish his senior year.

“Got an apartment and I’ve just been living here, paying half the rent,” Feaster-Rivera said.

For the first couple months of the school year, he was working full-time – 40 hours a week – and also going to school.

“I’ve always been a really goal-oriented person, so I made a plan for myself, reached out to my teachers to let them know what was going on,” Feaster-Rivera said. “Let them know sometimes my things are going to be late, but I’m going to be completing assignments to the best of my abilities.”

He admits his grades have slipped a bit.

“There was a bit of a downward slope in winter. Things got a little tough and I had a little bit of a mental issues, just with like stress and everything,” he said. “I feel like just being thrown into this deep end of the pool.”

But he says he feels like he’s back on track.

Along with school, he’s now playing football while also working 22 hours a week.

It’s a lot to juggle, but he says he’s found a good rhythm.

“Some of the lessons I’ve learned in the past couple months will stick with me for the rest of my life. Things like at a store knowing ‘do I really need this or do I want this?’ Learning how to cook. Can’t eat all the time,” Feaster-Rivera said. “They’re just lessons I’ve learned and they’ve been really helpful.”

Feaster-Rivera says he is still on track to graduate on time. He’s already enlisted in the Air Force Reserve, and will begin basic training after graduation.

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