First-gen, Stanford-bound student creates own opportunities

If you don’t catch him studying for an Advanced Placement course or throwing the Frisbee, Stanford-bound senior Alessandro Boaro will be found finessing the operations at one of his parents’ restaurants. Boaro is commonly described as hard-working, determined and friendly by peers, coworkers and teachers alike—and is well known for maximizing every opportunity that comes his way.

“I made sure that I took every chance I could get,” Boaro asserts about his experiences so far. “Whether those were life experiences like traveling to China or living in Italy, or life skills like working in a restaurant, grinding my way through an AP textbook, taking piano lessons and playing the guitar, I took them because those are opportunities that only come around once.”

The son of first-generation immigrants—an Italian father and Mexican mother—Sandro Boaro was not born into the typical Carmel college-bound track. Neither of his parents attended college, yet the wisdom they imparted to him originated beyond university campus walls.

His father, Denis, born and raised in Italy, transitioned straight from high school into the hospitality business. He started learning everything he could about food handling and hotel management.

Boaro’s mother, Yanina, grew up in Mexico among five brothers and started off as a potential Olympic swimmer. However, family pressures and a move to the U.S. abruptly severed her swimming career. Her next pursuit of fashion modeling providentially led her to Italy where she met Denis. Whether living in Italy or the U.S., Yanina was the common ingredient holding their happy family together.

The Boaro family served in and managed several restaurants, eventually purchasing two of their own, Gusto Pizzeria and Pasta, and Basil Seasonal Dining. The restaurant business is a consuming one, leaving little spare time for busy owners to check homework or help in academic pursuits.

What his parents did knead into Boaro were the intangible character traits that cannot be gleaned on a high school campus.

“My father’s work ethic,” Sandro explains, “cooking in the kitchen, connecting one-on-one with people when they come in to talk or eat or putting in hours upon hours of effort each week, was infectious. My mom—her discipline and accountability factor are a part of me. From watching her, I know what it feels like to be a responsible individual.”

Boaro experienced these traits from earliest memories. Shortly after he was born in California, he spent the first four years of life in Italy where he learned to speak Italian from his father and Spanish from his mother.

Fast forward to their return to California, and the family restaurant’s dishwasher called in sick. Because his son was only 10 years old, Boaro’s father refused his child’s help in this staffing crisis. But the family work ethic kicked in, and young Alessandro insisted that he pitch in—even with his hands drowning in adult-sized washing gloves. His own contributions to the family business had begun.

Since then, Sandro Boaro has served as a busboy, manager, waiter and cashier. Now he works as a food runner.

“I manage the food times for our restaurant making sure everyone gets their food on time,” Boaro explains, “so everything’s not staggered or cold.”

He understates it, of course, but Boaro is in charge of making sure that everybody at a table gets their food simultaneously, at the right temperature, regardless the size of the party.

His coworkers definitely appreciate how Boaro accomplishes his tasks. Valerie Flores, a long-time coworker of Boaro at the Beach House Cafe, admires his ability to multitask.

“Alessandro is a really good worker,” Flores comments. “He knows how to manage the restaurant, the cashier, and still talk to people and connect with them at the same time.”

Boaro is the same quality person outside of work as well, having managed nine AP courses at Carmel High School despite working Friday nights, Saturdays and Sundays.

According to CHS math teacher Mike Deckelmann, Sandro Boaro is somebody all students should strive to emulate.

“I’ve known him so long that I can’t remember,” Deckelmann muses, “but I can remember that he has always worked hard and cared about what he is doing. In one word, motivated. In terms of a student, that is perfect. Can’t do any better than that.”

Neither Flores nor Deckelmann is surprised that the motivated co-worker and student was accepted into Stanford University in the fall. Although Boaro is wary of a four-year, rigorous academic course load, he remains confident that he will persevere and succeed.

“CHS did a great job preparing me for Stanford,” Boaro asserts. “I plan to be out in four years and get working right away, designing and getting hands-on construction. I will be combining the Environmental Engineering and Architecture majors to get my own Landscape Architecture major. ”

Work in the landscape architecture field involves everything after the house is built and the cement is set. Central Park is a landscape architecture project, and so are the gorgeous homes in Big Sur with beautiful trees and shrubberies.

This all-around impressive individual will be missed by many friends, including fellow senior Jack Brewer.

“We will always miss his humor when he leaves,” Brewer promises. “He is always making jokes at his own expense, always lightening the mood even in the darkest depths of an AP Chem lecture or heavy homework assignment.”

Despite his tendency towards humor, Boaro offers serious advice to other students who share a similar background and similar yearning for success.

“Keep on struggling,” Boaro insists. “Don’t be discouraged by any difficulty or rigor that you encounter—especially when it may come in the form of a homework or scholarship deadline. Make sure you know what you want to do in a broad sense. Most of all, create your own opportunities.”

-Connor Suess