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Sergio Tinoco inspires Texas A&M University-Kingsville's GEAR UP students

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Sergio Tinoco speaks to students at H.M. King High School.

Sergio Tinoco speaks to students at H.M. King High School.

Junior and senior high school students from Corpus Christi and Kingsville listened to motivational speaker and author Sergio Tinoco at H.M. King High School Tuesday, Feb. 18, 2020.


Texas A&M University-Kingsville's Gaining Early Awareness and Readiness for Undergraduate Programs (GEAR UP) students learned about Tinoco’s struggles as a young migrant worker and how he strived to get an education. He signed and gave out copies of his book, Proud American: The Migrant, Soldier and Agent.


“He was really an inspiration especially to a lot of kids that don’t know what they want to do after graduation so I feel he was really helpful,” said Anai Austin, junior at Roy Miller High School.


Erika Pena, also a junior at Miller High School, said “I feel like it was great. It gives us a choice to like decide on who we want to be and not on our background so I think it was a great speech.”


“For me, it’s an honor because I didn’t have this when I was a kid in high school,” Tinoco said. I didn’t have somebody telling me their story that they themselves were migrant workers, that they themselves were struggling with work and education and trying to figure out how to continue education, how to follow your dreams when you’ve been raised thinking that migrant life was all there was.”


The GEAR UP program is designed to increase the number of low-income students who are prepared to enter and succeed in postsecondary education. GEAR UP provides six-year grants to states and partnerships to provide services at high poverty middle and high schools.


“This provides a great opportunity … we know that everyone has a different path. Students that can relate to him can really understand where he comes from and how he got to where he is today,” said Analisa Garcia, GEAR UP Academic Success Coach at Miller High School. “It gives the students a different perspective, a different outlook on things they can reflect on their own lives and to really help them make that connection and figure out what they want to do for themselves in the future.”


Currently, GEAR UP is serving the classes of 2020 and 2021 at the following three schools: Mary Carroll High School, H.M. King High School, and Roy Miller High School.


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