Students have had to be resilient and persistent, but Alejandro Hernandez, from Southside ISD, has had challenge after challenge.
Hernandez suffered a broken bone in his neck, lost his grandfather and his mother – and yet – he still stayed determined to succeed.
“He’s the first kid to complete the project. He is very motivated, and it’s astounding to me that somebody that is struggling with so many things can still stay so focused,” Atlee Gonzales, leading counselor of Southside High School, said.
Hernandez said he’s still recovering from a car accident he had during his junior year.
“Junior year, I had a car accident. I shattered my left ankle and it broke a piece of bone in my neck. I’m still recovering,” Hernandez said.
Alejandro loves cars and loves his family, especially his grandfather. Alejandro’s uncle said he lost his grandfather after a battle with cancer, and that it was a tremendous loss.
“Oh, it’s a big loss, especially to him, because my father was a father figure to him,” Juan Reyes, Hernandez’s uncle, said.
And then last year – after losing his father figure – Alejandro lost his mother.
“My mom passed away, um, last year and July,” Hernandez said.
It was an unimaginable sequence of events.
“What’s special about Alejandro is that he is still so motivated. He’s one of the top achievers, considering everything he’s been through,” Gonzales said.
Alejandro is the epitome of persistence, resilience, and strength.
“What motivated me was the talk I had with my grandpa about graduating because he always wanted to see me walk the stage. So I’m like, ‘he’s not here, so I’m going to walk the stage,’” Hernandez said.
He is not just graduating for himself, but he also has a child of his own. Hernandez said he wants a better life for her.
“I’m pushing forward for my daughter. She’s about to turn one this year… her name is Amelia,” Hernandez said.
Next up, Alejandro is set for college. He is planning on studying to be an automotive technician at St. Philip’s College in the fall.