Alex RIvera was a fresh faced 9th grader at Springfield Renaissance High School when he started coaching with Project Coach. Today, he’s heading into his sophomore year at Worcester State University in its prestigious nursing program. Here Alex talks about the lessons he learned in Project Coach and how the power of team inspires him every day.
PC: What are you up to now that you’ve graduated Renaissance and Project Coach?
AR: To be honest, I am 100% focused right now on earning money this summer for all of the medical equipment I need to buy for my program next year! Big picture, I’m in my second year of nursing school at Worcester State University, which has been amazing and the most challenging thing I’ve ever done.
PC: Tell us a highlight from your time at Project Coach.
AR: The highlight -- the most important thing -- from Project Coach were the relationships I built. Actually, it was learning how to be a teammate, learning how to be a part of a team.
PC: What did you learn from your teammates?
AR: Is there anything I didn’t learn from them, from Ish and Yesenia and Jeremy and Anna and everyone?! I guess the most important thing were the people skills I learned. I learned to take and give feedback because that was always such a big part of how we worked together as a team. If I didn’t bring my “A game” my co-coach was going to let me know. And when I did bring my “A game” someone was going to notice and be able to tell me exactly why and how I got it right. Not just “good job”, but specifics. I gotta give it up to my teammates at PC. You’d be surprised how many adolescents can’t do that. Can’t communicate at that level or work in teams successfully.
PC: How did Project Coach impact who you are now, and what you're doing in your life?
AR: PC made me value and understand the value of friendship, teammates, teamwork and a lot more. I learned that teams really lift you up, make you better, hold you accountable. I really value that and I use it everyday.
PC: Who’s on your team in your current life & work?
AR: My best teammates are my parents. They’re really working hard to make this next stage -- college -- possible for me. And my friends in the nursing program. We are there for each other 100%. It’s really hard work and you can’t do it alone. We’re up together late at night studying, testing each other, helping each other with homework. Teamwork makes the dream work! And I’ve got a great team at Worcester. The valedictorian at Holyoke, Granby. They’re smart, they push me and I’m working harder than I ever thought I could.
PC: What big idea, project, adventure has your attention?: What’s your next play?
AR: Oh, man, to be honest, I am completely focused on making money so I can pay for all the things I need for the practicals that start in the fall. … I’ve got to buy a stethoscope, a blood pressure cuff, scrubs, lab coat, books and more. I can’t wait to use them!
PC: Tell us something you're reading or learning about that is making you better at what you care about?
AR: My Intro to Nursing Book. It costs $340 so it better make me better!