Monroe High School senior Jorge Sanchez started struggling in school in seventh and eighth grade.
“Most people can go home for help from their parents, but I can’t do that because they are Spanish-speaking,” he said.
And at school, he said, he was too shy to ask for help, and he kept falling further and further behind.
“My problem is I always think less of myself" than he should, he said.
Eventually, around the beginning of his junior year, Sanchez said, he hit rock bottom academically.
“After a while you are in such a struggle and your grades are so bad you figure out they can’t get any worse,” he said.
So he learned to ask for help, he said, and he began to improve as a student.
However, at the end of his junior year, he was behind on math and English credits and he started summer school. But his job working on a farm got in the way of his schooling and he didn’t gain any ground over the summer.
As he started his senior year, Beau Sisneros, the school’s principal, sat him down and told him he might not graduate.
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Sanchez said he realized he needed to get to work, and Sisneros helped him work out a plan to get to graduation. And after a year of hard work, Sanchez is now on track to graduate.
He said wanting to keep his grades up so he could play sports was a big motivator for him.
“Sports plays a really big part of it because you have to have good grades to play,” he said.
The football team in particular, he said, was basically family to him.
“Once you have a good group of friends around you, good coaches and good teachers, you really realize you can get this done,” Sanchez said.
Sanchez said now that he’s graduating he’s planning to continue doing farm work, which he’s already been balancing with school and sports.
And now that he’s about to finish school, he wants to dedicate more time to training horses, which he had to give up to focus on school and sports. His goal is to work with animals, he said, possibly as a horse trainer.
Sisneros said Sanchez had a difficult transition into high school and started out shy and disengaged. However, he said, Sanchez has grown over the years.
“He has become a vocal leader and a role model for our younger students," Sisneros said. "He is a resilient kid who makes friends easily and has been a voice of support for many of our freshmen students and how they should use their high school years to better their futures,” he said.