Today we celebrate...

We would like to share some positive and uplifting news from new college graduates to new energetic volunteers. 

Below are two stories of industrious low income Paly graduates who have been touched by YOUR generosity, supported by their communities and families, and conscientiously navigated their college years beautifully. Among our proud first generation college graduates are Martha Avila-Zavala and Susana Cacho who received their bachelor degrees in four years this spring. We are grateful for your financial support!

Be sure to check out videos of RTE students on our website.


Martha Avila-Zavala

Martha Avila-Zavala (Paly Class of 2016) graduated from Whittier College with a degree in human development and health. During her time at Whittier, she created her own major, combining biology, psychology, sociology and childhood development. She was able to conduct research with her professors, and most recently worked alongside a post doctorate student to study the genetic mechanisms that regulate morphogenesis, a stage of cell development. She was also awarded several scholarships. She was an active member of the First Generation & Allies club and the Palmer Society, a women's society at Whittier (similar to a sorority). In two years, she plans to attend medical school and become a pediatrician. She said she is grateful for the financial and emotional support she has received from RTE throughout her time at Whittier, and encourages other students to learn to seek out help when they need it. Thanks to RTE and her other scholarships, she is graduating this year with no debt.


Susana Cacho

Susana Cacho, (Paly Class of 2016)​, graduated from Williams College this year after double-majoring in Political Science and Spanish. While at Paly, she was part of The Campanile’s staff, a tradition she chose to continue by joining the staff of Williams’ yearbook, The Gulielmensian. She also worked as Junior Advisor for 56 first-year students. Although she was initially torn between attending Williams and USC, she chose Williams because they gave her almost a full scholarship. Looking back, she said it was the best decision she could have ever made, and encourages other students not to be afraid to attend college outside the Bay Area or California. After graduation, she plans to go to law school to follow her dream of becoming an immigration lawyer. She hopes to help other families navigate the U.S. immigration system. She is grateful to RTE and its donors for investing in her education and empowering her to give back to her community. RTE support gave her the opportunity to visit her family during holidays, participate in unpaid internships and become a role model for her younger siblings. She is also proud to announce that this year she will be eligible for U.S. citizenship.

Thank you to Maya Homan (Paly Class of 2018) for conducting these interviews. 

More Good News

We are happy to announce new board members as of June 2020. Nancy Kawakita and Greer Stone, both long time Palo Alto residents, have graciously volunteered their time to join our Board of Directors. Additionally, we welcome the 2020-2021 Student Representatives: Ras Kebebew, Ella Rosenblum and Melina Soburg. Emma Lin will serve as the link between RTE and the Associated Student Body. We look forward to accomplishing even more with their passion and commitment.

Local Hotel Vouchers Available

Looking to relax with a staycation during the pandemic? We got you! RTE's cancelled gala left us with many fun hotel and restaurant options, and vacation packages. Please click here and help local businesses while supporting RTE.

Thank you for believing in our scholarship recipients and our mission! 

Find out more about our work by reading our 2019 Annual Report.

We need your monetary gift to continue!

Paly's Rise Together Education is a volunteer run, nonprofit organization. We need your financial support in order to continue providing support and college scholarship to low income Paly students. Please consider a recurring monthly donation. We accept checks via mail and PayPal and Venmo to our email address <[email protected]>. Volunteers are always welcome! Thank you for your support!


Dawn Billman

President, Board of Directors