‘College can wait’: With families struggling, Colorado students are working to help make ends meet | PostIndependent.com
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‘College can wait’: With families struggling, Colorado students are working to help make ends meet

As the coronavirus has rattled the economy, leading to layoffs and reduced hours for many, high school students have stepped up to help their families. Some are now delaying college plans.

Erica Breunlin
The Colorado Sun
Jessica Tario, a senior at Glenwood Springs High School, cleans the surfaces of her checkout lane during her shift as a cashier at Walmart in Glenwood Springs. She has increased her hours since the onset of the coronavirus and helps her family cover living expenses with her paychecks. (Erica Breunlin, The Colorado Sun)

GLENWOOD SPRINGS — Like many high school students, Jessica Tario’s weeks are consumed by much more than classes and homework. The Glenwood Springs High School senior spends about the same amount of time working as a cashier at Walmart as she does on her final courses before graduating.

Wearing a black mask and disposable gloves, she greets customers and rings up their cartloads of items. She reorganizes the shelves that customers pass as they exit the store. She vigorously sanitizes her counter space and keypad touched by person after person throughout the day.

The money Tario earns — $13 an hour — isn’t entirely hers to keep. She gives a share of it to her mother to help her family cover living expenses at a time the coronavirus has sent the economy spiraling.

School administrators and teachers in districts like Roaring Fork Schools, Cañon City Schools Fremont RE-1 and Harrison School District 2 are seeing more students stepping up and working to help support their families throughout the economic downturn.

For some students, the need to work is placing a fork in their path as they eye life after graduation: Do they prioritize working for the sake of a paycheck or do they continue on with more schooling?

Click here to read the full story from The Colorado Sun about onwaardCO.org


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