At one point during his time at Lourdes Catholic School, Renan Becerril admitted, he wasn’t the most hardworking student around.
“I used to be the type of student who was lazy, didn’t do any work, didn’t turn anything in. When I had a C, I was happy with it,” he said, looking back on his time in elementary and part of middle school.
But as Becerril began learning more about the competition surrounding his father’s business, he began to reflect more on his mother’s “strive for greatness” attitude and decided to implement it in his own work at school.
Around the same time, his middle school math teacher Yolanda Leon also began putting more pressure on him, encouraging him to try harder and see the value of hard work.
“(Ms. Leon) and my mom started drilling me to a different mentality. That’s when I started taking school seriously and I came at the top of my class,” Becerril said. “It showed me that if you want to get everything you want or you want to do something, you have to strive for it, work hard for it, and like a lighthouse, shine through it.”
Although he consistently worked hard for better grades through the rest of his high school years, Becerril said he didn’t know there was such a thing as being named “salutatorian,” adding that when he found out, he had to Google the term because he wasn’t familiar with it.
Becerril recounted that high school wasn’t all about work, adding that his classmates and teachers made the campus environment to feel like an informal, family setting.
Whenever he wasn’t at school, he said, he spent his free time practicing piano, playing video games and going to the movies. In addition, his uncle played a big influence in reminding him to relax and enjoy the ride.
“My uncle is the type of person to live life by relaxing 100 percent, chilling all the time,” he said. “So having the competitive part of my mother and having the relaxing part of my uncle created a bit of a balance for me.”
Looking at his future, Becerril plans to start off at Pima Community College in Tucson and possibly transfer to the Eller College of Management at the University of Arizona.
One of the options he’s exploring, he said, is joining and helping expand his father’s engineering business.
“I want to get a good education and use it in the workplace, and hopefully, it bears fruits,” he said, adding that he’s excited and scared for the next chapter in his life in Tucson because he has always lived on the border.
“It’s a bit of a change, but it’s also exciting. I should embrace change and welcome it, and hopefully I can adapt to it,” Becerril said.