Taking pride in hard work is one of the most important things Robert Cantu would like people to know about his Mexican American culture. Cantu is the warehouse supervisor for Food & Child Nutrition Services at Dallas ISD. He has served in that role for six years.
“I was taught to take pride in work. Sometimes that’s the only way we can communicate,” Cantu said. “One’s work represents who you are as a person”.
Cantu is a product of Dallas ISD and a proud alum of Skyline High School, Class of 2004. His father is a Mexican immigrant from Nuevo León, who came to the United States to work in construction and provide a better life for his family. His mother is a homemaker from Clebourne, Texas. He has been married for four years to Angelica Cantu, a teacher in the Gifted and Talented program at Mary McLeod Bethune Elementary School.
Cantu initially followed his father’s and grandfather’s footsteps by working in construction. He later took advantage of an opportunity to work at Dallas ISD as a cafeteria supervisor and an administrative assistant, before transitioning into his current role. He has worked for Dallas ISD for eight years.
In addition to his conviction about hard work, the part of his Mexican American Heritage that is most significant to him is the Spanish language.
“There are words that don’t directly translate from English to Spanish,” Cantu said. “But the Spanish language is a part of connecting to people. I love how the language conveys feelings, urgency, and passion.”
Impacting the lives of students by providing something as simple as a meal is another thing that makes Cantu smile and feel affirmed. Every day, he plays a role in making sure each school cafeteria has all the products needed to provide healthy meals to thousands of students. For some of them, it is the only meal they may have all day.
“My job has turned into a passion because I get to make an impact every day,” Cantu said. “Sometimes I work 11 to 12 hour days to make sure everything is lining up… it’s worth it.”