AlumNow: Dallas ISD grad isn’t ‘waiting on Superman’ to accomplish greatness

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In just four short years, Adan Gonzalez has journeyed a long way from the halls of W.H. Adamson High School, where he served as president of his senior class and the Dallas ISD Teen Board.

When AlumNow, a Hub feature that checks in with district alumni to see where they are now, caught up with him, Gonzalez was traveling to Washington, D.C. to receive the U.S. Congressional Gold Medal, which is just one of the many accomplishments he’s racked up over the years. A short time later, he was dining with Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor. While he has traveled many miles along an incredibly accomplished path, Gonzalez is still deeply rooted in his community and committed to making a change here and across the globe.

Despite his busy schedule, Gonzalez found time to answer a few questions on what he has been up to since graduating from Adamson in 2011.

What are you doing now?

I graduated from Georgetown University in 2015, majoring in government and with a minor in education, inquiry and justice. I’m the executive director of the Puede Network, where I organize initiatives with C-Suite executives to provide comprehensive college access services, volunteer opportunities, and mentorship to underprivileged students in inner city public schools. I’ve engaged with more than 100,000 students and parents in numerous states through presentations (blog and radio show), advocating the importance of higher education, parental support, and community involvement.

Briefly list a few of your career and/or personal highlights.

  • I recently received the 2015 U.S. Congressional Gold Medal award recognizing my 10,000 hours of community service and leadership in empowering the youth and our community at large;
  • Last year, I received the National Jefferson Public Service Award and was invited to be Justice Sotomayor’s guest for dinner this year. It was an awesome experience.

AlumNow - Gonzalez, Adan2Other highlights include:

  • United States Intercollegiate National Boxing Champion
  • National Gates Millennium Scholar
  • Coors Light National Leader of the Year
  • National Coca-Cola Scholar
  • White House Intern
  • S. Department of Education Intern
  • Education is Freedom Graduate
  • Junior Achievement Graduate
  • AvanceDallas Graduate

What was your favorite subject or activity/involvement in high school?

I loved my four years with the cross-country team, from the early morning runs in Colorado Park with Coach Urbina to racing up and down the hills of Oak Cliff and crossing the finish line. The bond of the team was exceptional. This sport helped shape my work ethic of never giving up, and my teammates helped me understand the power of unity; at Adamson, we “run as one.”

Who was your favorite teacher?

John Parker was my marketing teacher, and I took his courses all four years of high school. Parker was my role model; he held high expectations for me, and he challenged me to constantly grow. Parker exposed me to a world outside of my block and changed my life forever. My teacher believed in me when no one else did. He created opportunities for me to earn the privilege to dream.

What lesson did you learn in high school or beyond that has served you well through the years?

We don’t need a Superman to come rescue us; we have each other to help discover our own powers. El pueblo unido, jamas sera vencido! (A unified people will not be overcome.)

What advice, if any, would you offer to high school students today?

I will tell them, “si se puede”:

Sacrifice luxuries for needs.

Independence is a privilege, value it.

Smile, make someone’s day.

Exposure, discover new heights.

Pride, stay true to who you are.

Understand, you are different, embrace you!

Educate, read, read, read!

Dedicate, practice makes perfect.

Empower, live to serve for a greater good.

College/University and degree earned:

Georgetown University, BA in government, minor in education, inquiry and justice, 2015.

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