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“I should’ve doesn’t exist" for Judson High School's Sebastian Bernal

Judson High School’s senior Sebastian Bernal was always told, “el hubiera no existe.” It means “I should’ve doesn’t exist.”

That’s the mindset he’s had throughout his four years of high school - make the best of every opportunity afforded to you. No excuses.

However, it didn’t start out that way. His freshman year was seemingly nonexistent because of the COVID-19 global pandemic. He, like the majority of students in America, were learning through a computer screen. It was as if he was set up to not be as successful as he wanted.

But, it really was no one’s person fault - the entire education system had to pivot.

“I didn’t really get to know most of my teachers because we weren’t face to face,” Bernal said. “I think COVID created a disconnect between the teacher and the student.”

Needless to say, he tried to participate as best he could in the automotive and JROTC programs at Judson High School, two programs where face-to-face, hands-on instruction was essential. As things returned to somewhat normal during his sophomore year, he adjusted well after losing a traditional freshman year.

But, as his dad always said - take advantage of the opportunities that are afforded to you, because “I should’ve doesn’t exist.”

“Both my parents didn’t go to college, so they always wanted better for me,” Bernal said. “Especially my dad, he wanted to make sure I took advantage of high school. I think [he] influenced me the most by teaching me the right thing to do with my education.”

Throughout his high school career, Bernal specifically invested time in the JROTC program. Over the summer, he participated in the Aim High Flight Academy, an all-expense paid three-week introductory flight program in California that "informs, influences, and inspires the next generation of aviators and leaders.”

His dream (after the Air Force, of course) is to become a commercial airline pilot.

“You get to travel the world,” Bernal said. “Just being able to do that is an experience.”

A product of Judson ISD - having attended Salinas, Kitty Hawk, and now graduating from Judson High School this year, Bernal is the perfect example of taking advantage of all the opportunities that have been available to him. Not only did he get involved in JROTC, but has been an active member of the criminal justice program and Skills USA.

He’s all around good kid, taking advantage of all the opportunities that have been afforded to him in Judson ISD.

When it comes to people who have influenced his education the most, he mentioned Ms. Padilla at Salinas Elementary who was key to his success.

“Without Ms. Padilla, I wouldn’t be able to read,” Bernal said. “She was so patient with me. I struggled, but she didn’t give up on me.”

As the year progresses, getting involved as much as he can on his campus and outside it, he hopes to use his senior year to give a voice to all students in the district.

“Judson has been my home since PreK,” Bernal said. “Bettering the voice of the students at Judson will better the district for years to come. The district has been home.”

He also wants to make sure that he leaves a legacy at Judson High School, something that future Rockets can look up to.

“I want the next person to lead this group the way I did, maybe even better than the way I did,” Bernal said. “You have to be that person where your word means something. And JROTC taught me that.”

If the vision of Judson ISD is to Produce Excellence, Sebastian Bernal is excellence, a walking reminder of what happens when we invest in our students and provide them with opportunities to succeed.

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