Coming from a family of migrant workers, there’s nothing strange about pulling double or even triple-duty for general studies major Víctor Álvarez, who serves as a role model to his classmates and as an example for his two children.
“I suppose it’s the level of maturity,” said Álvarez. “I enjoy helping the younger students and by helping them, I’m also helping myself.”
Álvarez was one of seven siblings, five brothers and one sister, growing up. One year he decided to put his education above all else in an effort to become the first in his family to graduate high school. He accomplished his goal in 1992, when he graduated from Brownsville Pace High School.
After taking an extended break from college to work and start his own family, he was encouraged by his wife to return to school. He was an office manager for an export/import company for 15 years and is currently an assistant manager at a cowboy boots and western wear outfitter.
“My wife always encouraged me to go back to school, and it’s something I was putting off for a while,” said Álvarez. “Now that my kids are growing up, we’ve always encouraged our kids to do well in school. We want them to go to college and get a higher education.”
Working and going to school full time hasn’t been easy for Álvarez, who gets up at 4 a.m. to finish his homework assignments, but he wants to set an example for his children.
“I didn’t want my kids to come back to me and tell me that I didn’t go to school,” explained Álvarez. “The only way I’m going to teach them is by example, and at the same time I’m benefiting greatly by getting a higher education and it’s something my kids can be proud of as well.”
Álvarez’s 15-year-old daughter takes dual enrollment courses at Brownsville Veterans Memorial High School and is in the top five percent of her class. His 12-year-old son is on the same path when he reaches high school.
All three compete with each other to see who has the best grades.
“We’re a very competitive family and we’re always looking at each other’s grades,” he explained. “We have a high bar when it comes to grades. My daughter is a natural student. I have to put in more time. Once you get that ‘A’ in class, you don’t want to let that go.”
Now that Álvarez is closing in on his goal of graduating with an associate degree in spring 2016, he’s starting to set his sights even higher and is eyeing a bachelor’s degree in psychology as a logical next step in his academic career.
“It’s really important for me to finish,” said Álvarez. “I want to finish something I started a long time ago and I know my parents are going to be proud of me. It will be a huge accomplishment for me (to graduate). It’s going to be worth all the hard work. Working full time and going to school full time is not easy. You have to sacrifice a lot of things along the way.”
What does TSC mean to you?
TSC is a blessing. It’s a great opportunity to have this here at home without having to leave, to continue my education. It gives me hope for the future. If I can graduate and get my associate degree in general studies in the spring, that will only motivate me to work harder to get that bachelor’s in psychology that I’ve been thinking about. TSC gives me the opportunity to move up in life and succeed.”
What’s your dream?
“My dream is to someday be a youth counselor. I’m thinking of counseling youth that have drug addictions. I want to be somewhere I can make a difference and have a positive change in a person’s life.”
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