Keeping the pace
Sergio Barbosa-Mireles, Senior, Deforest High School
You’ll need a stopwatch to keep up with Sergio Barbosa-Mireles. The State Wrestling Champion from Deforest High School is a straight-A student taking honors classes in Spanish and calculus at the UW-Madison.
Sergio’s typical Tuesday starts with weightlifting at 6:30 a.m. at Deforest High, followed by Spanish 311 and Calculus 222 at the UW, then English and psychology back at Deforest. There is a short break at home to grab something to eat and start on homework. From 3:30 to 6:30 p.m., he can be found on the football practice field before heading to wrestling practice at 7:15 p.m. “After that it’s down time. I need to get some sleep,” he says.
Setting the pace
Packing a lot into the day is nothing new for Sergio. He has always been involved in athletics, the Wisconsin Youth Symphony and advanced academic work. “I think it’s gotten me prepared for what I’m going to be doing in college,” he says of the hectic pace.
He credits PEOPLE and a strong inner drive for putting him in a position to choose from some of the top colleges and universities in the country. “People are there for you, from networking with professors to Jackie Dewalt [Assistant Program Director] who was very supportive of all the different things I was juggling to Walter Lane who went out of his way to help me get into the right classes on campus.”
Making the most of PEOPLE
Sergio learned early on what many leaders identify as a key factor to their success. “A lot of it has to do with who you know. That first impression is really important,” he says. Workshops in astronomy, biology and zoology piqued his interest as a middle school student. Later, it was the lasting friendships that kept him going with the program. “Everyone brings something to the table, and it gave me a chance to make friends with people I wouldn’t normally interact with from Milwaukee. That’s something everyone in the program takes away.”
Sergio was a PEOPLE intern at Qualitemps employment agency this past summer where he worked with Spanish-speaking clients over the phone. “I realized how much a five-minute phone call can really help people out.”
“The program has given him a good taste for college life,” says Sergio’s father Oscar Mireles. “The summers spent 24/7 on campus are invaluable in helping to make decisions about college. His internship at Qualitemps allowed him to use his Spanish and gave him a greater appreciation for what it’s like in the real world.”
Sergio’s older brother Diego attends Madison Area Technical College. His younger sister Loren is also at Deforest High School and his younger brother Javier attends Black Hawk Middle School. Both Loren and Javier are in PEOPLE.
“I come from a family that emphasizes staying true to yourself. Do what you love and don’t ever put yourself in a position where you’re just doing something for someone else. All the pressure has come from me. Whatever I do, I know they’re going to have my back and that’s a really good feeling to have.” With the pace he keeps, Sergio’s back is probably a familiar sight.
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