After high school, 18-year-old commuter wants out.


Rafel Sanabria waits patiently for the bus after a day at Riverside High School

Rafel Sanabria waits patiently for the bus after a day at Riverside Academy


His voice was soft at first, but became louder and more robust as Rafel Sanabria, senior at Riverside Academy, explained his plans after high school.

“I’m moving to Atlanta because it’s way too expensive [to live] here,” said Sanabria.

The 18-year-old Sanabria is in his last year at Riverside Academy, a high school located in New Haven. His commute, to and from school by bus, isn’t long but still prefers it over walking. He’s been taking the bus by himself for 10 years and only has one complaint.

“They need bigger buses,” said Sanabria gesturing a bigger size bus, spreading his arms out. “It gets way too crowded real quick on the bus sometimes.”

Sanabria said he’s eager to graduate and, if all goes well at Riverside, moving to Atalanta will mean the start of his dreams and he end of taking New Haven’s crowded buses.

“It [Atlanta] has good community colleges and Atlanta Tech is out there,” said Sanabria. “I want to go down there and study culinary arts.”

Sanabria said he’ll move in with relatives that live in Atlanta, but wants to get a car and start living on his own as soon as he can. A friend of  his will also be joining him in Atlanta. They both have been searching for houses on Craigslist–simultaneously planning how to fund their big move.

“We’re not planning on renting, we want to buy it. The houses in Atlanta are dirt cheap compared to what’s out here.” said Sanabria. “My friend is making money through the Job Corps right now, so he’s just waiting for me to make my move.”

His voice had a determined and enthusiastic tone that complemented his ambitious attitude. But college, cars, and houses cost money, a vital piece to Sanabria’s puzzle. He said finding a job is his greatest struggle right now and has sent out dozens of applications around Connecticut.

“I can’t find a job anywhere in this state,” he said. “I’ll take any job. Anything that comes my way I’ll take it.”