Virgilio moved to the United States from the Dominican Republic when he was twelve years old. He didn’t have to worry about typical childhood issues like trying to fit in at a new school, but different ones like being in a new country with a different language. Despite all the obstacles and cultural differences he faced, he preserved through. It was an immense barrier going to a diverse school, trying to make friends, being placed a year behind, and surrounded by people who knew each other and had spoken English their entire life. These issues collectively must be a struggle for a twelve-year-old who wants to make friends in school.
However, Virgilio always considered himself to be a learning person. Even with the difficulty that came with the societal and cultural differences between middle and high school, Virgilio always tried to remain positive. Virgilio was shown not just to be innovative and determined but inquisitive as well. He sought to learn through school and through his peers, who provided him with a different perspective on how his classmates viewed everyday things differently from his own “I always liked to be around people from diverse backgrounds in terms of cultural backgrounds…I felt like if I learned from different cultures, I would have a better perception of how they see things.”
Virgilio was shown to have a great sense of self-awareness from a young age to learn from other cultures and students. He loved the diversity that came with Philadelphia, despite the hardships he endured and attended the Community College of Philadelphia. Although he had to stop for some time, he got jobs between the time he found JEVS Human Services and ultimately returned to school.
Virgilio spoke of how he felt a personal connection with JEVS EduConnect staff; they were supportive and a gateway to finishing his degree with JEVS’s partner university. Virgilio went on to complete 42 projects toward obtaining an associate degree in tech support. His resilience and dedication to his studies and degree showed how concentrated and focused he was on his career; through the regressions, he pushed himself and accomplished more. Virgilio balanced his job, along with his school and family during this period.
His goal was to build up his proficiency through a tech support job, learn to program, and ultimately become a software engineer through his many jobs.
Virgilio greatly values what he does in life, how you can make all the money in the world and still not do what you’re destined for. His untiring spirit and motivation speak powerfully to his love for his work. He gives great encouragement to people who are on the same path to finish school and find a job; see what it is that gets you out of bed in the morning.
“Yes, you might earn more money. You might meet people who take your places. But if you look inside you and your core, your soul doesn’t tell you, this is what I want to do; it’s not right for you. There is always going to be that thing holding you back. So it’s about doing what, what you love and actually working for it,” he said.
Virgilio found that passion and work become second nature to him, not a burden. He was fulfilled and knew to the core this is what he loved; that’s what motivated Virgilio.