From trouble maker to B+ student

ALAMOSA — The road to nursing school has been long and unusual for 21-year-old David Corvera. His goal now is to get a nursing degree at Trinidad State and eventually, a doctorate. 

That’s light years from his elementary school days in California. 

“I was in fifth grade and was expelled because I hurt other students by tapping them with hot scissors,” he said. “It was quite a handful of classmates I did that to during class and the police department got involved and did a psychiatric questionnaire test to see if I had any mental problems, but I honestly did it as a joke thinking it was funny at the time.” 

Being expelled meant he couldn’t go to any public school in Salinas, California. He ended up in a private Christian school. “That played a huge role in my maturity and development towards a relationship with Jesus Christ,” Corvera said. After several years, Corvera’s family moved to Monterey where he returned to a public school, Monterey High School.

He said his freshman and sophomore years were disastrous. He is grateful the staff was patient with him and he didn’t get expelled again. Kevin Mayer, his tutor as well as youth pastor, played a large role in helping steer Corvera’s life in a more positive direction. Respect for his teachers grew his junior and senior years. By a slim margin he beat out his only competitor to become senior class president for approximately 240 students. But he barely managed to graduate with a minimum grade point average.

That changed once he started college. He is now an A and B student. 

“I can confidently say that God plays a big role in my life. I wouldn’t be the person I am today without him,” said Corvera who credits God and exercise “for keeping me going and alive and aware.” In fact, exercising at a CrossFit class is where he met his girlfriend, Erika.

“I try to keep myself in peak condition because I know that with this nursing gig, there’s going to be a lot of heavy lifting going on,” Corvera explained.

Corvera was not always so fit. His mother fainted during his birth, which affected his neck giving him limited movement from side to side. Nor can he look up. “It doesn’t stop me from doing anything.” He also had a kidney removed at four months and suffered from asthma, which he has outgrown.

While living in California, Corvera attended one year at Hartnell Community College near Salinas. He was drawn to nursing – possibly due to the college level EMT class he had taken in high school where he was required to do some Emergency Room work at a community hospital.   

When his parents relocated to the San Luis Valley, Corvera moved with them. “I didn’t want to waste any time without doing any schooling,” said Corvera.  “It was great because there is a college and a university here. Obviously, I didn’t want to pay more so I chose Trinidad State real quick.”

While Corvera worked an additional two years at Trinidad State to complete his General Education requirements, his work study position in the Learning Center at the college enabled him to assist other students. His fluency in both Spanish and English enhanced his interactions. His work study supervisor, Todd Cotton, said, “From the first day I met him I knew there was something special about him. He’s friendly, comfortable with anyone, and positive. He is one of the most conscientious students I have met in my 30 years of education. In fact, my wife and I feel so comfortable with him that we gave him a key to our home and he watches it when we are gone.” 

Corvera also tutored students in statistics. Juliana Chaparro, the TRiO director, said, “He was always available, always willing and loved tutoring. He’s very charismatic.  Students came to him for help due to his welcoming demeanor.” 

“I jumped right into student government my first year at Trinidad State and served as senator at large,” said Corvera. Last semester he served as president of Student Government as well as president of T?SC (TRiO Transfer Student Club). 

In May Corvera graduated with both Associate of Arts and Associate of General Studies degrees. Although he is no longer a member of the executive board, he still attends the student government meetings representing Nursing Level I students as their president.

“It took me three years of college classes to finally get accepted into the nursing program. It’s hard,” he said. “It’s time consuming and your life has to revolve around it. That’s what I’ve been living these past four weeks now.  It’s been a good ride. I’m loving it. It’s awesome. I love studying it. I love the hands-on activities. I’m all over it.  I’m the first one there, the last one out. It’s definitely everything I thought it would be.” 

His primary nursing instructor for Level I, Marty Dineen, said, “He’s always willing to help out and volunteer for things we do in class. He’s not afraid to ask questions and has a good spirit to learn.”

After this year, Corvera plans to enroll in the summer program for LPNs.  He plans to earn his RN next year and then transfer to earn his BSN, then his master’s and finally his doctorate “because I want to be the person in charge.” 

That certainly does not sound like a “trouble maker!” 

Caption: David Corvera listens for bowel sounds on this SimMan mannequin, which is a computerized human-like machine that can be programmed to mimic a plethora of medical conditions. Courtesy photo by Margaret Sanderson