Senior Finds Purpose and Passion in High School Classes

Gilberto Hernandez's family has experienced the effects of devastating diseases - diabetes, depression, obesity, and both his grandmothers died of cancer. Gilberto plans to one day be able to modify genes to cure the diseases that have plagued his family.

“When I start my research in genetic engineering, I plan on figuring out a way to eliminate those negative genes and get them out of our gene pool,” Gilberto said.  “It saddens me that as far as technology has come today that we are still dealing with all these diseases.”

In May, Gilberto will graduate with both a high school diploma and an associate degree. That required spending his summers taking classes at Mountain View College - a sacrifice he doesn’t regret.

“I’d rather spend my vacation doing something productive,” Gilberto said. “I know right now it’s free, and if I decide to do it later on it’ll cost me money.”

Gilberto is a serious student, but he has also allowed some time for fun. The past two years, his favorite electives have been the dance classes offered at Mountain View College.

Gilberto remembers leaving an engineering class his junior year when he saw a representative from the college at a table promoting a Latin dance course. He wrangled a friend into taking it with him.

“I told him ‘are you down to take a dance course?’ I told him, ‘we take this course and we could be the best dancers at all the parties,’” Gilberto said.

Gilberto loved the experience. The National Hispanic Scholar was accustomed to studying math, science and all things technical. Suddenly, he stumbled upon his creative outlet.

“The second I got onstage and I felt the lights turn on me, I loved it and I fell in love with dance since then,” Gilberto said.

As he studies biomedical engineering at the University of Virginia next year, Gilberto plans to continue seeking ways to further his experiences in dance.

Gilberto is grateful for the opportunities he received from his teachers at Duncanville High School and believes he is ready for the challenges college life will bring.

“They’ve been nothing but encouraging,” Gilberto said. “They’ve pushed me like nobody else has in my life.”