News and Events

Spotlight: Mauricio Mandujano, "A Life of Change"
May 21, 2015

It was June 15 of 2011, I was a 14-year old middle schooler who lived in Mexico along with his family. However, unexpectedly, all my academic, personal, and athletic plans would change in an instant. Due to my father's health issues, we decided to move to Dallas where he fell ill. There, I would undergo a process of assimilation and adaptation to a new and diverse culture, as well as, to a new educational system. At first, it was hard to adopt the U.S lifestyle; since the beginning, I was convinced that it was going to be different but I never imagined such an immense discrepancy. Yet, as the time passed by, I accustomed myself to society and became part of it.
Mauricio Mendujano

One of the most difficult parts of my adaptation, was becoming a fluent and self-sufficient individual capable of coexist in high school. In fact, when I arrived to the U.S., I spoke no English whatsoever. Because of this, it was fundamental to me to promptly and effectively acquire English as my second language. Thus, my intrinsic desire of learning a new language, as well as, to excel in my classes permitted me to achieve my primary goal over the course of my first year. Nevertheless, my eagerness of knowledge and triumph would only increase. Further, it would be in the years to come that I would find my passion for languages, more specifically French.

Once again, because of fate, my family and I moved to Florida where my mom's siblings lived. Of course, moving to Florida implied changes, but those variations motivated me even more.  When I entered DeSoto High School, I was still considered an ESOL student, yet I was able to take normal classes because of my English proficiency. Over the course of the school year, I excelled all my classes obtaining all A’s but 2 B’s; however, it is attributable to my lack of English knowledge, since both of them were in the first semester of my second year in the U.S. Additionally, It was during this time when I met SWAT (students working against tobacco). It was on account of my soccer coach, Omar Rendon that I became part of this great club organization. Once I joined, I was able to learn more about the tobacco culture among teens and the importance of advocating for reducing its consumption. Further, I was able to participate in numerous activities which allowed me to have a better comprehension of many aspects of society. As a matter of fact, I was part of an Anti-tobacco commercial, which is in Vimeo and YouTube, called “Nico-teen Zombie”; analogy that showed the resemblance of how the usage of tobacco products causes an uncontrollable addiction for its consumption. In addition, I recorded two radio-commercials in Spanish, in which I encouraged people not to use or stop the usage of Tobacco.

Therefore, I’ve concluded that my future would be involved with languages, cultures, traveling and gaining knowledge. Currently, I consider my trilingual knowledge, in addition to my social skills obtained during my SAWT meetings, conferences, and activities, are essential  to succeed. Moreover, in total honesty, I feel delighted because of my language and academic accomplishments I’ve achieve in this three years and a half; however, this is only the beginning of my expectations, I want to become known around the globe, leave a footprint everywhere I go, and help make a difference in this world. In brief, this is just an ephemeral summary of 3.5 years of residency in the U.S., and I want, and will demonstrate what my capabilities are, in years to come. Because when there’s a will there’s a way.