The same boy who softly says that without LaunchPad, he would “probably be at my house hating myself,” now aspires to one day attend the University of Texas and become a video game designer or an engineer.
Cesar, 14, has developed a new sense of confidence and friendships that help create a solid foundation as he prepares to enter the eighth grade and his third year with LaunchPad.
“He is an extremely bright and respectful young man with a large vision,” said David Contreras, LaunchPad’s executive director. “He is always willing to try new things, is a great listener and is always the first-one to raise his hand in our ‘Living for Success’ leadership class to answer questions.”
It’s hard to pick a favorite LaunchPad class, Cesar says, but he loves chess and robotics.
“Me and Chris are always fighting about who is the best in chess. And I love that competition,” Cesar said.
Last semester, Cesar was selected by LaunchPad to participate in a panel that addresses persisting issues in his (East Austin) community. The panel came before Austin City Council, consisting of another local school and Austin Police Department. Cesar brought up the issue of bullying, and received praise for his insight and viewpoints by present APD officers and Austin City Councilman Mike Martinez.
“He’s very transparent for such a young teen and talks about his fears and challenges and equally his hopes and dreams,” Contreras said.
Refreshingly honest and kindhearted, Cesar plans to harness his raw potential.
“Before Launchpad, I thought that I couldn’t do anything,” he said, “but now I know that I can do lots of things. It [LaunchPad] has helped me be more confident in myself, and taught me that I can do whatever I want.”
By Megan Martinez @megmikmartinez | firstname.lastname@example.org
Contributions by David Contreras