El Paso, TX (KDBC) — On Saturday, thousands of students from the University of Texas at El Paso will across the stage during graduation ceremonies at the Don Haskins Center.
For many of those graduates, reaching that milestone has required a lot of sacrifice.
Jorge Baños Gomar is originally from Mexico City. During an internship at Walt Disney World in Orlando, Florida, he met two El Pasoans who convinced him to pursue higher education at UTEP.
After researching UTEP and El Paso, Jorge packed up and moved thousands of miles away, leaving behind all of his friends and family.
"I was by myself. People would say you're alone, what are you going to do? I said, 'You know what, I'm going to go out to the community, reach out to them and take a leadership position, try to give my best effort,' he said.
During his first year at UTEP, Jorge said he would worry about paying tuition, in addition to paying for an apartment and other living expenses. He began applying for scholarships, so that he could focus on academics instead of finances. Although he faced many difficult times, Jorge said it was all worth it.
"The challenge, the opportunities, everything, every one of those instances has been a great opportunity for me to grow and learn," said Jorge.
Jorge is graduating with honors. He will receive his bachelor's degree in Accounting, and will pursue a master's degree in accounting at UTEP.
Jorge's parents will be traveling from Mexico City for his graduation ceremony. It will be a surprise to his father, who thinks he's coming to El Paso to watch his son receive an award.