(WACO, Texas) – Christopher Landeros, of Bryan, is living his family’s dream.
His parents were born in Mexico and moved to the United States. They had three children: a son who was born with hearing, a daughter who was born without hearing, and Landeros who had hearing when he was born, but lost that ability when he was a toddler.
The son learned how to be a barber, the daughter is attending college in East Texas and Landeros is an Automotive Technology student at Texas State Technical College’s Waco campus.
“We have that privilege of going to college,” he said. “They (his parents) want us to make use of it. Don’t waste the opportunity.”
Landeros took construction classes at Travis B. Bryan High School, but went in a different direction when he enrolled at TSTC. He learns best when it is quiet, but when the program’s automotive lab gets noisy, he relies on a sign language interpreter to help him understand what is going on.
“I want to develop skills and I want to be able to figure out something on my own,” he said. “I don’t mind depending on others, but I want to develop depending on myself, too.”
Jose Pena, an instructor in the Automotive Technology program, said Landeros sometimes needs help understanding unfamiliar automotive terminology.
“We teach him like regular students,” Pena said. “It is a blessing that he has cochlear ear implants. He’s eager to learn.”
Landeros received the implants at the age of five and began learning to speak. He said this put him behind in his learning starting in elementary school. He said his elementary and middle school years were spent in general and special education classes, but in high school he was with the general student population all day.
“In high school, my motivation was to develop a skill,” Landeros said. “I see my siblings and they developed skills way earlier. I learned how to drive when I was 18 and I learned how to get a job at 19.”
Landeros resides at the on-campus Village Oaks student apartments where he studies and watches anime in his free time. He also travels to Bryan frequently to spend time with his family.
“There is always something I need to catch up on,” he said. “I am proud of myself. I am decent with my knowledge right now, but I am catching up on other areas.”
Landeros is eager to graduate with an associate degree from TSTC and work in the automotive industry.
He has some advice for other people who have hearing challenges.
“They need to stop overthinking and stop being contained in their own bubbles,” Landeros said. “Get out of your comfort zone. That is how you succeed. Once you are scared, you don’t want to do it. You need to be confident and try. It does not hurt to try.”
TSTC is proud to recognize National Hispanic Heritage Month, which takes place from mid-September to mid-October.
For more information on TSTC, go to tstc.edu.