Leonardo Santoyo, a senior at Emmett J. Conrad High School, is a 2016 recipient of the Dallas ISD Superintendent’s Scholarship.
Born in Denver, Santoyo moved to Mexico with his father when he was 10 years old after his parents separated. His mother eventually joined them in Mexico, but as Sontoyo’s father was a migrant worker, he returned to the U.S. to support the family.
Eventually Santoyo began joining him to earn tuition to pay for his schooling, since public school in Mexico is not free. One day while he was near El Paso with his father, they came across some university students. That’s when Santoyo knew what he wanted to pursue.
After a stint in Chicago with family, he came back to Dallas to live with his father whose job at the time had him traveling frequently. Santoyo taught himself to cook and look after himself, and currently works 30 hours a week to help keep up with expenses.
“It’s not easy balancing my grades, and work and sports,” Santoyo said. “I recognize that I didn’t make it here by myself. I wouldn’t be here if it weren’t for all the wonderful teachers that I’ve had.”
Santoyo plans to attend the University of Texas at Austin in the fall and pursue a degree in aerospace engineering.