"I worked at Fremont High School one time. It was the first time I ever worked with high school students, and that was not easy. I got thrown into the fire and had to figure it out. But I figured that I needed to be the type of role model these kids needed, by not just telling them what to do, but also showing them.
I had the chance to grow a population of just four students to fifty. It’s not that most of them don’t care; they do. It’s just that they need someone who is genuine and honest. That’s one thing I’ve tried to do so that the students can see that I’ve come from the rough area too.
I had a specific student who was gang-affiliated. He constantly got jumped after school and got kicked out of his home. He was only a freshman. I don’t think I would’ve survived living like that. But when I was with him, we broke down a lot of masculinity barriers that were in him.
He broke down on me, and I was able to build him up a little bit. I can’t say I changed his life, but I did what I could. I wish I could have been there longer so that I could have seen where he is now. He got his first A in his educational career when I was with him. It really humbled me and made me want more.
The male figures in my life have all been hard-working, but they were not collegiate. They were not a part of the college experience, and that’s where I was. MSA was able to steer me in the right direction. Being in it for four years and the president for two, it’s life-changing. I never thought I’d be able to have the impact that I have had on so many people’s lives.
MSA is all about creating a culture that’s different from what society has been trying to portray for men of color. It’s helped me see that there is not a lot of Latino representation the higher up you go. I didn’t have a lot of Latino mentors during my college career. I know some who have done it, but they are spread thin.
Now it’s my turn, and it’s going to bring a lot of pride and orgullo for me because I need to set the example. If I don’t do it and I give up, then it’s going to be harder to inspire the next generation."