Manuel Cacho-Success is a habit with award-winning student
Manuel Cacho always wanted to achieve academic success. His parents had not been able to attend college in their native Mexico, where the expense of higher education was prohibitive, and they instilled in their four children the importance of going to college.
"They made a lot of sacrifices to be here," said Cacho of his parents, who are both US citizens now.
Cacho graduated from SCC in 2007 with top honors, earning a Distinguished Service Award, which recognizes two students in each graduating class who have earned top grades while helping fellow students and participating in community service.
How did you choose SCC?
Manuel-SCC had always been on my radar. For most of my life I lived in Oak Park, not too far from the campus. There really was no second choice; in my eyes, SCC was the only choice. I knew that getting the general education requirements out of the way at SCC before going to a university would be fiscally responsible and a wise move. I hadn't begun working yet and relied on financial aid and scholarships.
What were your favorite subjects?
Manuel-interestingly enough, math. I was fortunate enough to have an amazing math professor for 3 semesters, Alex May, who really made math enjoyable. Astronomy was also a great passion of mine. Professor Liam McDaid really brought the subject to life and made it enjoyable, spontaneous and fun.
What were some of your contributions to the college?
Manuel-Being a tutor and helping others succeed was one of my biggest contributions. Helping others do their best and better themselves always made me feel great. I loved watching others grow and succeed.
Did you have a favorite place on campus?
Manuel-The tutoring center. I'm sure anyone from way back when can vouch for me, that for about the last two years of my stay at SCC, in between classes, sometimes for hours at a time, I was at the tutoring center, tutoring or simply hanging out. It was where I made the most friends.
What were some of your greatest sources of satisfaction at the college?
Manuel-There was so much that I was able to achieve and feel satisfied about. SCC was the place I got my first job, the place where I decided what I wanted to pursue and the place that made me a distinguished student. My greatest source of satisfaction had to be that crowning achievement, when I made everyone who believed in me proud-they gave me the wings, and I wanted to show them how I could fly.
Did you go on to a four-year college?
Manuel-I went to CSUS and obtained my bachelor's degree in Spanish and a minor in Teacher Education, graduating summa cum laude with a 3.94 GPA. Two years later I also obtained my master's degree in Spanish from CSUS.
What's going on in your life today?
Manuel-In 2011, I got married and in early 2012 my wife and I had a baby girl. I've been working full-time for the state and going to school part-time to get some certificates in computer information science from CRC and FLC. I've also been heavily involved in writing-one of my lifelong passions-and have independently published two novels, the most recent of which is "Dusk: The Crimson Solo."
Is there anything you would like to add?
Manuel-In the future, I hope to pursue a Ph.D. in Creative Writing and become a published author. I do not plan to stop taking classes-learning, growing and absorbing information. I look back on my days at SCC with nostalgia, and I can't stop smiling.
Manuel Cacho's novel, "Dusk: the Crimson Solo," is available at amazon.com