Miguel Weckman sees possibilities everywhere he looks.
Born in Mexico, he came to the United States when he was three years old. The intervening years saw him living in Wyoming, New Mexico, Denver and Mexico again.
Returning to the United States after his last stint in Mexico was a challenge.
“Mexico is like a third-world country,” he explains, so “it was difficult to adapt.” He had to adjust to a second language again and the schools he’d attended held varying levels of scholastic standards. Add to that the three months he spent out of school, recuperating from a vehicle accident and it becomes easier to understand his frustration. “But I tried hard,” he exclaims.
In Denver, he was attending the KIPP Collegiate High School, a tuition-free, college-preparatory public charter high school in Southwest Denver, ranked 1 of 43 high schools in the Denver public schools when his cousin, Julio Chavez, a recent graduate of Mile High Academy, told him he should try to get into MHA.
Miguel is a fourth-generation Adventist, so he knew about Mile High Academy, but had never considered attending. Besides, he didn’t have the money for such a venture. But something clicked and he determined he would do whatever it took to be a student there.
“I see things as reachable always,” Miguel says as a way of explaining why he spent his summer earning money to go to school instead of, like many teenagers, earning money to buy a car.
Working for a landscaping company, he put in 60-hour weeks hauling wheelbarrows full of sand, planting and cutting grass and beautifying landscapes.
Making $12 an hour, he was able to amass enough money to pay his registration fees and first month at MHA. “My mom always told me to trust God,” Miguel explains and then adds, “She told me to be a good boy and to be respectful.” His soft-spoken greeting and friendly handshake showed that he has listened well to his mother’s admonitions.
The hard work for Miguel isn’t over yet. His school days begin at 9:30 am and finish at 3:30 pm. He practices with Mile High’s soccer team from 4-6 pm. and is looking for a new job to fill the rest of his evening. He thinks five hours a day should about do it. He has heard that Denver’s Porter Hospital hires young people to serve food to their patients and that’s the job he’s going for.
“I’m a dream big type of guy,” Miguel explains when asked about his plans for the future. “I’ll try to get into Andrews University, study business, go into real estate for a few years, get money and build up from there.”
In an essay he wrote for his own amusement, a philosophy of life of sorts, Miguel says, “Remember to put God in first place because He is the one driving you to success. But don’t leave Him all the work; don’t sit down because success is no accident—it is hard work, studying, learning, sacrifice and most of all, love and respect to the people around you.”