SAC offered their Ascender students the second in a three-part series titled “Getting Real: Grit in Me” presented by Manny Vasquez on Friday, October 16 from 12 noon to 1 pm. His presentation focused on the following: We are all experiencing similar “low” challenges and feelings. You are not alone; It’s healthy to have a venting buddy; Asking for help is a skill we all need to learn; and Make sure to celebrate the “highs.”

A number of students attending the presentation claimed they typically remain quiet and try to figure out how to overcome challenges on their own, instead of reaching out to family, friends, programs or supporting departments and students said they also benefit from hearing each other’s stories (to include their current challenges in college) as a means of “putting things in perspective.”

Vasquez’s presentation included Carlos Castancio, an alumnus of Alamo Colleges. Explaining why he felt that it was important to have Carlos participate, Vasquez said, “I think students need to see themselves in the stories that are intended to motivate them. In bringing in Carlos, they could see themselves in the struggles he faced as a first-generation student who experienced the same feelings of doubt, uneasiness and alienation that some of the Ascender students may be facing today.”  

He added, “My story can only reach so many people. This is why I bring people with different stories, from different walks of life – to try to reach as many students as I can. In our next Ascender meet-up, I intend to invite Barbara Robles to share her story. The varied and colorful stories are evidence that success is not reserved for the few who may feel sure of their journey or who have enough resources to support their academic careers.”

When asked about the time he spent with the students, Vasquez said, “I would encourage the Ascender family to model the behavior they want to see in students. If we want to encourage sharing, vulnerability as a strength, and collaborative conversations, let’s model the behavior when taking part in events like this.”

“I have been truly impressed by Manny’s genuine enthusiasm and authentic storytelling. I think it is his down-to-earth and relatable personality that best communicates his message—and his humor is spot on. San Antonio College is fortunate to have him as part of our student support team,” commented instructor Laurie Coleman.

Vasquez will conclude his “The Grit in Me” series with Part III on November 13th from noon- 1 pm in Zoom.

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