March 9th, 2012
“West Texas Miracle” Producing Future Latino Leaders

There is a Catholic high school for boys from the borderland that has produced wave upon wave of scholars, entrepreneurs, and leaders for the last nine decades.  Cathedral High School’s legacy of civic involvement has enhanced our unique transnational region as well as communities across the United States. The reason for the school’s success across these many years, according to WFAA TV Dallas/Fort Worth, is based on the longstanding tradition of emphasizing the development each young man’s character throughout their academic journey.

Just blocks from downtown El Paso, on the corner of Stanton and River, stands a unique La Sallian institution renown for annually producing El Paso’s vanguard of young gentlemen. When WFAA TV aired an extended story about the “West Texas Miracle” that Cathedral High School represents to both sides of the U.S./Mexico border, it discerned that male mentors who also graduated from Cathedral have made a tremendous impact on students by providing a model of community-oriented leadership through their service as alumni instructors.

According to Brother Nick Gonzalez ’80, Cathedral’s principal, “It’s great if kids get into some awesome colleges —  and they do —  but it’s the kind of men they are 25 years out, 20 years out that matters most.”

As a visiting lecturer at Cathedral, my beloved alma mater, I have been engaging the class of 2012 as a fellow alumni for the last six months. Although I am a relatively young alumnus with only a few silver streaks in my beard, I was graduating from high school when my students were learning how to talk. Nowadays, I spend my mornings endeavoring to improve their communication skills and bolster their leadership training in anticipation of the rigorous postsecondary learning environments they will encounter in the upcoming fall semester and beyond as future graduate students.

My steadfast belief that these graduates will continue our longstanding tradition of academic excellence by rapidly completing their degree programs, while maintaining their commitment to community-oriented initiatives, compels me to assert with confidence that they will populate our future leadership base. Based on the existing gender gap in education that has emerged across their generation of the U.S. Latino community, they will be competing for access to resources and strategic positioning with a disproportionately larger body of their female Latina counterparts in every future academic and professional domain.

In comparison to graduates from the latter decades of the 20th century, I am encouraged by their level of camaraderie, their respect for tradition, and their dedication to both academic excellence and civic involvement.  These new 21st century graduates exhibit advantages beyond those possessed by their predecessors due to their hybrid cultural capacities, as well as their preemptive accumulation of extensive social and symbolic capitals. These “men of faith in-training” from both the United States and Mexico are imbued with the agency to become a powerful body of future innovators, job creators, and elected officials who will reconfigure as well as redefine our economic landscape in a manner that improves the quality of life for residents across the borderlands.

The continued application of our longstanding traditions at Cathedral High School have revealed that what this body of students has required for success is dedicated mentors, and how these future alumni will secure the success of our unique border region will be through their service as future mentors and leaders.

[Photo By Tulane Public Relations]

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