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Through unspeakable hardship, JECA's Adrian Hernandez never doubted himself

For Judson Early College Academy senior Adrian Hernandez, the plan was to become a structural engineer.

That plan has changed.

Not because he couldn’t be a structural engineer, he already has 14 college acceptance letters and $700,000 available in grants and scholarships. The plan has changed because of life experiences, because of passion, and make no mistake, he is still going to college and he still has big goals and dreams, they just look different now.

Adrian is going to be a realtor. He is going to sell homes because he understands what it is like not to have a permanent home. For much of his senior year, Adrian and his family lived in a hotel or, more accurately, several hotels. Home means something very specific to him.

“I don’t look at it like I’m just selling a house. I’m helping people find their sanctuary, something they’re putting their hard-earned money into, that they will raise their children in, where they will be prosperous and live a life, where their spirit is,” Adrian said.

Adrian says that while the times going from hotel to hotel were difficult, his family is incredibly close and has supported him and inspired him to achieve his goals.

“My mom is completely selfless and always puts her kids first and my dad is my best friend. We have gone through this together as a family, even our dog! Now, we are stronger than ever,” Adrian said.

He is on the road to making his dreams come true and he says that JECA and the teachers there have changed his life in multiple ways. 

“You can see that the teachers genuinely care about us, down to every teacher. They’re all supportive. They’re selfless and here for us,” Adrian said.

He has already taken one real estate licensure exam and is preparing for others. Through JECA college prep teachers, Mr. Jorge Aguilar and Ms. Cynthia McCann, he was able to connect with a brokerage firm where he is already working and learning. 

That connection is not where Aguilar’s influence on Adrian ends. He has been there to coach Adrian through his college plans, has been an ear when Adrian needed someone to listen, and helped Adrian become a stronger person.

“I’m a better person because of JECA and teachers like Mr. Aguilar. He tells us how to advocate for ourselves. He lets us know that you have a voice, you have the power to go out and do things with it,” Adrian said.

And he is going out and doing things; it seems like the possibilities are endless. He lights up when he talks about getting a business degree while continuing to pursue his real estate career and eventually going into commercial real estate. 

But, wait, what about the original passion for homes for people? 

He wants to provide low-income housing for those in need. He wants to create safe spaces for the homeless and those in need of a second chance.

“I want to be part of that solution. It’s hard but you have to be in the heart part of it. Just because a person is struggling doesn’t mean they are bad people. Everybody deserves a chance,” Adrian said.

When asked if he has any doubts about reaching his goals and dreams, he says he worries about things sometimes but never doubts that he can achieve his dreams. 

“I don’t do things like other people. I pay attention to detail, and I care about the small things. I have a good work ethic, Adrian said.

Adrian is still deciding which college he will attend, but he has already decided that his real estate business will be named after his mother, Araselli Realty. Watch for it. Watch for him. He is on his way.

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