It's nine Wednesday morning and something special is happening inside a classroom at Northeast Texas Community College.
It's the kind of education that changes lives. Just ask the teacher. "My first job, I lost it. I was not able to speak the language," says instructor Sergio Sanchez.
What Sergio Sanchez teaches his students comes from more than just pages of a book. His journey began over thirty years ago on the streets of Mexico City. As a young child his parents left him. A desperate life in a desperate country.
"In Mexico city, in the city it is hard,." says Sanchez. "Nobody will help you with anything. So in my poorness, cause I don't have no family, I was living with relatives, but it is not the same as having a home, you can imagine."
As a young boy Sergio came to America with his older brother. But not knowing the language proved costly from the start.
"My co-workers they did something wrong and they pointed, Sergio you did it and all I did (shake head in agreement) with a big smile, yes I did it. Honestly I said yes. The next day I found out they fired me. I had a frustration on me, big frustration but I was not able to do anything, it was very hard. Then I put my mind, I need to learn, I have to learn the language," remembers Sanchez.
Sergio left East Texas for a short time, but came back and found another job at Pilgrim's Pride in Pittsburg. He also found Northeast Texas Community College. While working 10-12 hours a day, he also found time to come to a classroom there and learn the language. Things started to improve in his life, but he always knew something was missing. He found that something late one night on his way home from work. Exhausted Sergio ran off the road hitting a median.
"I need help. I was looking for help but I didn't know where to go to ask for help. So I remember the moment, nobody was around me it was around 1 o'clock in the morning and my air bag it was blown out because I had a wreck. And I asked God for help. I cried in tears and I raised my voice help me out, I need somebody," says Sanchez. A few moments later, a friend came upon the wreck but it was that prayer Sergio believes changed his life.
Sergio not only finished his education, but was on the road to completing two associate degrees and ultimately a Bachelors Degree from A&M Commerce. He began teaching not only E-S-L classes but became the instructor and coordinator of the school's welding program. But Sergio's impact goes well beyond education.
"They (his students) have rejected from society. They say your no good, your not able to do it. I say no you can do it. Just let me help you out a little bit. With patience, a lot of patience," says Sergio. "I believe that God is...He is the one that moves me everyday. And I know they can see it because they can still remember who I was before. I am from Mexico City and in the city you learn all kinds of language, all kinds of tricks and all kinds of bad words. And they knew me how I was. In a short period of time in my life. I was using my talents God gave me in the wrong way."
Sergio not only teaches, he now leads weekly bible studies, is active in his church, has become a naturalized citizen and just this year was appointed to fill a term on the Mount Pleasant School Board. A long journey for a boy abandoned on the streets of Mexico City. A journey Sanchez believes was directed by the power of prayer.
"Never came to my mind what God has given me to this point, never. I don't believe it myself cause it's not me. It's not me what I'm doing it is God who is working on me. Now I have the talent, the skill to gather people for better reasons. For much better reasons. And I know it is God. This is the way I feel in my heart. I know for sure he is the one that has done it for me."