A Teacher in the Making

Reuben CantuReuben Cantu is a top scholar at Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi and a recipient of the Wright Family Scholarship Fund. When he started college, Cantu wanted to study to become a pharmacist, but he soon realized his passion was to impart his knowledge of science to others. Cantu now plans to become a chemistry teacher at the secondary level.

“I look back in my life, and when I think of those who inspired me, besides by family, I realize that it was my teachers and coaches,” explains Cantu, a junior chemistry major. “Beginning in elementary, my teachers believed in me and their believing in me made it easier for me to believe in myself. I want to have that same effect on students.”

While in high school, Cantu, a graduate of W.B. Ray High School in Corpus Christi, realized that a person can excel academically and athletically when he was elected to the Permanent Honor Roll for maintaining an “A” average while receiving all-district honors in football. Cantu admits that he worked hard to maintain his grades while still being active in sports, but looking back he realizes that the encouragement and support he received from his teachers and coaches was instrumental to his success.

Cantu believes that teachers and coaches can have a positive effect on a young person’s life. His high school football coach, Lee Allen, served as a father figure and mentor. As a mentor, Allen encouraged Cantu to keep up his grades so that he would be eligible to play football. As a father figure, Allen used stories to prepare Cantu to become a man.
“Coach Allen played college football with the legendary ‘Mean’ Joe Green and had to work hard to raise his level of playing to compete with someone like him. Coach stressed that you constantly have to challenge yourself to do better and raise your level of playing to keep up with what’s around you.”

While his career plans are firmly rooted in teaching, Cantu also enjoys his life as a champion boxer and a role model for younger boys. While growing up, Cantu found that school activities and sports such as football and wrestling helped to keep him busy and focused, attributes that he feels are important for success. One sport in particular—boxing—gave him the discipline to win. Cantu had his first match while he was in high school, went on to win the 2002 Golden Gloves State Championship and then became a national qualifier for the Junior Olympic Tournament.

Although his mother always encouraged him to do well in school and offered emotional support to her son to stay on top of his grades, Cantu knew he would have to finance his schooling on his own.

“If I did not receive aid, I would have to work full-time to put myself through school,” explains Cantu.
Reuben Cantu, a shining light among A&M-Corpus Christi students, received the Wright Family Scholarship Fund scholarship in Fall 2004. He expects to receive his bachelor’s degree with a teaching certification in Summer 2007. He says he feels lucky to be a recipient of the Wright scholarship.

“God has taken me a lot of places that I never thought I’d be, and college is one of those places,” he said. “My faith, my family and the generosity of people like the Wrights keep me going. I believe that all people are capable of tremendous things and I don’t intend to let opportunities pass me by.”

Texas A&M Corpus Christi Foundation • Annual Report 2005