The Story of a True Leader

“I first came to Goshen College not knowing anything about it. I applied to this school and got accepted, but I didn’t know what kind of school it was, the environment it portrayed, and how the people were. All I knew was that I would be playing basketball and that I received a pretty good scholarship. Now, I am going on to my fourth year, which will be my senior year. Needless to say, my experiences here at Goshen College have been way different from what I thought coming in my freshman year. I come from a family where I am the only one of my generation to go to a postsecondary school. Knowing that, I busted my butt off to succeed in college the best way I knew how. I work hard. It is in the Mexican DNA to work hard, so I didn’t stress about school because I knew that I would work hard. The first year at school I figured out I wanted to be a teacher because I love to be around youth. I never thought I would be an elementary teacher but the classroom experience has showed me that I love to be around children and that this is something I want to do. Plus, I know I can get a job easily after I graduate.

I am in my senior year in the Goshen College basketball program. I am captain of the varsity team but it wasn’t easy to get this position. The first three years of basketball were tough. I came in thinking that I was going to be the Michael Jordan of GC. I was wrong and ended up seeing the first three years of basketball on the bench, on the sideline watching my teammates play while I thought how much I wanted to be in the game, in the gym working out numerous hours per day just to make myself ready for the level of competition, numerous thoughts thinking that it wasn’t worth it, and optimistic views saying that hard work pays off. Now, I am a senior and captain of the team. I plan to show my story to my teammates that hard work pays off and in the end we will reach our goal if we are on the same page. Basketball has definitely been a roller coaster ride much like the walk along with Jesus. In the end, if we stick with it, it will pay off.

As far as my social experiences at the college, I can say that I have been blessed to be around people that care for me. I came in knowing nobody to making some of my life long best friends. I come from a city where there were many acquaintances. My family was my best friend but when I left, I had nobody. That changed because of the many experiences that Goshen has brought me. Basketball has given me some of my best friends that I consider brothers. I love them just like I love my real brother. Elementary education has surrounded with a group of positive people who understand the importance of teaching. I don’t think I have ever met nicer people than these. I was a resident assistant for Kratz dorm and that brought me to see a different side of people at the college. I was their friend but also their leader. CITL has connected me to a group of people I can relate with. Goshen College is very different than San Antonio in a sense that there are way fewer Latinos in Goshen. CITL has connected me with the group of Latinos I can relate with. Although I can connect and relate to anyone, Latinos understand the culture just like I do.

It has been great so far and I look forward to using my experiences and relationships at GC to lead me to my next chapter in life. Like I said, I didn’t know what to expect when I first got here but I am glad that I came.

One thing I know is that none of this would be possible without the support of my family, especially my mom. I learned so much from her that a bit of her is in me. She supported me without my dad being there, when money wasn’t there, and even when  I didn’t want her. Through thick and thin she has been there for me. Everything I have done in Goshen is for me, my family, and my mama.”


~Tavo Parral from San Antonio, TX

4th Year Elementary Education Major

Captain of GC Varsity Basketball