Zaphire Alonso’s determination paying off

Mike Madriaga

Mike Madriaga

It’s been ten months since Zaphire Alonso, a City College student, lost her leg due to a motorcycle accident.

Since classes started in January, she has transitioned from pushing herself in a wheelchair to walking in her prosthetic leg.

Alonso’s trek via public transportation from Tijuana to City College is still a challenge, but now twice as rewarding. She recently obtained a job at The Price Scholarship Program office as a receptionist.

“I feel good and I feel useful,” Alonso said while working on the computer at the front desk.

The Price Scholarship Program helps students to complete an Associate Degree and/or Certificate Program at City College in two to three years. The assistance provided comes in a variety of ways, financial, mentoring, seminars, a program retreat, individual counseling and social events.

“From the time that I visited her in the hospital she has always been positive,” said Maria Elena Delgado, director of The Price Scholarship Program. “I’m very proud of her.”

Alonso has new duties: she is handling all of the paperwork and emails, issuing checks and keeping track of the community hours of the students.

Alonso knows the scholarship process well. She was on the other side of the desk many times, beginning when she won her first Price Scholarship in 2014 while attending Monarch High School.

On May 9, Itzel Vega, a receptionist for the Price Scholarship Program office, was training Alonso to input the names and information of Chicano Studies students on a spreadsheet via Microsoft Excel. They were prepping for an upcoming ceremony.

The two won scholarships last summer, but Alonso couldn’t attend the ceremony due to her accident.

“Zaphire uploaded a video from her hospital bed (on social media) explaining that she couldn’t make it,” said Vega, “it was heartbreaking.”

The feeling of camaraderie and pride is evident in this part of the fourth floor of the MS Building. A variety of photo montages of Price Scholarship recipients are displayed throughout the office.

Delgado said that Alonso’s presence in the front of the office is positive, describing her personality as “bubbly and optimistic.”

The struggle to get around campus with her prosthetic leg and crutches are still physically daunting but mentally liberating. “Now that I am walking, I feel like ‘más libre’ (more free),” Alonso said.

She averaged a “B” grade in the spring semester and this summer she is taking English 101 and a Chicano Studies class.

Her goal?

“I just want to be normal.”