USC-bound pre med student 'kicked' fútbol
DANA M. NICHOLS
Vida en el Valle
(Published Tuesday, June 5th, 2012 09:24AM)
STOCTKON -- Alexis Sandoval, the son of immigrant parents who speak only Spanish, is headed to the pre-med program at USC with more than $35,000 in scholarships.
How did he do it? He studies hard, so hard he had to give up participating in club soccer for a few years. And he got good advice, particularly from Michael Tubbs, a Stockton native who is graduating from Stanford this month. (June).
"He helped me out a lot and guided me through the process," Sandoval said.
Now, Sandoval and Tubbs have something in common. "He is also a Coca Cola scholar," Sandoval said of his mentor. The Coca Cola Scholarship is giving Sandoval $10,000 toward college costs. Sandoval also won a $25,000-a-year Buick Achievers National Scholarship, renewable for up to four years.
Tubbs is one of the founders of the Phoenix Project, a non-profit organization that connects low-income and minority college students and aspiring college students to each other.
"He's always asking questions and always seeking to learn from other people who are doing what he is doing," Tubbs said of Sandoval. "He is one of the hardest-working people I know."
That hard work was visible during Sandoval's years at Franklin High School. He was the captain of the Franklin varsity soccer team for four years at the same time he was part of the academically-rigorous International Baccalaureate program there. And he also holds down a part-time job as a food runner and buss boy at Le Bistro restaurant.
"Most of my studying is done at home. I usually study really late at night," Sandoval said.
Sandoval said his parents, Martin and Miros Sandoval, came to California from the town of Maravatio in the state of Michoacán, México.
"They came from México with only a few dollars in their pockets and no English vocabulary," Sandoval said.
Sandoval is truly fluent in two languages. He learned Spanish as an infant and then started with English in second grade.
Sandoval said his parents have been extremely supportive of his desire to attend college and study medicine, but couldn't offer him much guidance.
"They didn't really know what the college process was like," Sandoval said.
"I didn't know the process of applying for colleges. I didn't know when to take the SAT."
That's where Tubbs came in.
"Alexis is a really special individual because he knows how to ask for help," Tubbs said. "I remember his junior year, he emailed me and said 'I'm really interested in going to the school you got into.'"
Since then, Sandoval decided to instead attend USC to study biomedical engineering and take cources to prepare for medical school.
Before he leaves for USC at the end of the summer, however, he plans to relax with friends, listen to banda music, and reconnect with the Stockton Cougars club soccer team he had to forsake in recent years because of his studies.
"I want to get into sports," Sandoval said.