‘Human connection saved me’: Homeless teen gets full ride to college

Santa Fe, NM (KOAT ) -- Edgar Sarceno, 18, graduated from Santa Fe High School and has spent the summer helping at a camp for kids. It’s a non-profit he has worked with before called Reading Quest. He has spent countless hours over the year helping kids learn to read, on top of keeping up his good grades and holding down multiple jobs. No one ever knew that he was homeless.

“I always want to be the person I needed when I was their age,” said Sarceno.

At their age, he felt alone with no family to support him. By his junior year, he was living in his car.

“My whole life was in my trunk, basically,” he said.

Edgar never asked for help.

“It was really hard to not be the person that makes everybody sad,” he said.

His boss at Reading Quest never knew his story.

“He was always on time, always impeccably dressed and looked terrific and was on his game every time," said Rayna Dineen, founder of Reading Quest.

It was not until he didn’t show up for work that Dineen said she started to get worried.

“Finally, he got back to me and said, ‘I’m sorry, I don’t have a phone and my car broke down.’ And then he finally told me,” she said.

It’s a similar story that unfolded at school- when Sarceno asked for help from an English teacher to edit his college essay. In the essay, he detailed his hardships.

“That was my own way of telling them I need help," said Sarceno.

The help he finally asked for, and his own determination, helped him get a full ride scholarship to Bates College in Maine. He is not taking any second for granted.

“I want to study philosophy. I want to study art and economics, reading and writing,” said Sarceno.

The Santa Fe community also rallied around Sarceno and bought him a new phone and car. He can’t wait to drive it across the country and start his new life.

“I kind of realized that human connection is what could save me,” he said.

Sarceno wants to eventually go to graduate school at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and become an engineer.

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