Perseverance Pays for Fernando Treviño

Fernando Treviño-SRSU photo

By Laura Nelson

Fernando Treviño graduated with honors from Sul Ross State Univ. on Dec. 12, 2020 with his Texas teacher certification in hand, ready to go to work as a junior high or high school history teacher.

As simple as that sounds, his years-long, circuitous route to a bachelor's degree was anything but smooth. A native of Mexico, Fernando grew up in Allende, Coahuila, the eldest of three sons of college-educated parents. After Fernando finished high school, the family joined his dad in Uvalde who had been working for one of the local quarries.

Fernando took advantage of English as a Second Language classes at Southwest Texas Junior College which he said helped enormously. The young man began to consider his career options. He dreamed of becoming a pilot, but discovered it was expensive, so he started studying data processing and accounting. That proved too difficult and he switched to computer science. Meanwhile, he moved to North Carolina to work in the family business and earned an Associate degree in Computer Science while there.

He returned to Uvalde and completed a 14-week tech program in aviation, earned certification, and went to work as an airplane mechanic in 2001. He and wife Isela got engaged, happily anticipating their life together. Then the Sep. 11 attack occurred, and Fernando was laid off. He found work in San Antonio, but the commute was not ideal for family life. He tried his hand as a dental assistant and quickly found out that was not his calling, either. He went to work for Jim Miller Aircraft Painting at Garner Field and joined the Naval Reserve. Meanwhile, he and Isela welcomed their first child, daughter Angela.

Son Fernando was born with health problems and Fernando Senior took time off to care for him. Sadly, Fernando Junior passed away before his third birthday. Despite the sorrow, an idea bloomed in Isela. She suggested to Fernando that he would make a good teacher, so in the fall of 2011, he began taking one or two classes per semester. During this time, son Jesus was also born with health concerns and again, Fernando has been there to see him through surgeries and therapy which continue today.

Susan Land, the Testing/Certification Coordinator in the Education Dept. worked closely with Fernando and he credits her with providing tremendous support. She said, "I remember when I first met him and he had just started classes. He made a C in one of his history courses. He told me, 'I can do better' and turned around, took the class again, and made an A." She went on to describe his dedication to his wife and children and his genuine care for those around him.

Through all of the heartache, it might have been easy to become disillusioned; however, Fernando remained steadfast and persevered until he reached his goal. Now, he urges others to earn a degree, even if it means taking only a class or two each semester.