Climaco Abarca.

When Climaco Abarca was 15 years old, he lost the ability to walk following a paralyzing diving accident. While the accident changed the course of the Washington State University Tri-Cities junior’s life, it did not stop him from going to college and helping others in similar circumstances.

“Everyone would struggle with waking up one day and not being able to walk,” he said. “It is incredibly hard and there are many people that don’t think they could do it, but at the end of the day, you have to live and overcome. I have learned to live with my disability, and I don’t let it affect me. I have strong family support that is what has kept me motivated. I want to set a good example for them.”

Abarca has sought the help of WSU Tri-Cities TRIO Student Success Programs, which provides tutoring support, mentorship, help with financial aid and more for students who are low-income, first-generation and/or have a documented disability. Particularly, he said, being paired with a supplemental instructor for some of his classes has been crucial to his success.

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