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Great Graduates 2020: Tristan Cantu

Saint Mary’s Hall senior is heading to George Mason University to study criminology

SAN ANTONIO – Losing his mother, switching schools and changing lifestyles was not easy for Tristan Cantu, but now he is thriving after overcoming obstacle after obstacle.

Cantu now, is ready to take on Washington DC.

“I pretty much didn’t finish the sixth grade; we spent all summer in the hospital and all that and she passed away right before I started seventh grade,” graduating senior from Saint Mary’s Hall, Tristan Cantu said.

It all happened so fast.

“Pancreatitis, she just wasn’t feeling well on Memorial Day, and wasn’t feeling good at all that Monday, so we went to the hospital and she pretty much never came out,” Tristan’s dad, Mike Cantu said.

After Tristan’s mom died, nothing for the family was the same.

“It was very hard, it was very difficult, I know what I went through, I just can’t imagine how it affected him,” Mike Cantu said.

“I remember a lot of the time being in the hospital with her and she never gave up. She was just a great person I love her so much, I think about her every day and she really inspires me a lot,” Tristan said.

Before Tristan lost his mother, she made a decision that would change her sons academic life forever.

“And when she went to the hospital we just kind of just .. she basically said, no matter what he’s going to go to school somewhere in San Antonio,” Mike Cantu said.

In the midst of tragedy, changing your lifestyle and moving to a new school can be difficult, but eventually everything clicked for Tristan as he found the right path and is now even living far away -- he still went above and beyond for his education goals.

“It’s about 40 minutes, it’s long, there’s traffic,” Tristan said.

It’s a long drive every morning, and it has been a long path to get here, but Tristan’s journey is far from over.

“I’m going to George Mason University in the fall and will major in criminology,” Tristan said.

As for other students who have gone through or maybe are going through similar circumstances, Tristan has a piece of advice.

“I know things look hard right now they definitely are just keep your head up work and keep working and you’ll get to where you want to be,” Tristan said.


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