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International Interests

Travel Teaches Student Life Lessons

By Amy Morgan

 

The path of Ronald Reagan High School senior Pablo Cantu looks quite different than many of his peers. After graduating from Lopez Middle School in 2019, he enrolled in boarding school in Edinburgh, Scotland, for his freshman year. Although Pablo had never met any of the other students recruited from all over the world, he befriended peers from China, Singapore, Kazakhstan and Germany.  When soccer, the sport he grew up playing, was not offered, Pablo joined the rugby team. Despite being a novice, he worked his way up to the starting 15s first team.

“Lessons from the game translate to life,” he said. “We worked as a team. You are only as strong as your weakest point.” Cultures sometimes collided – Pablo never quite adjusted to wearing a kilt on formal-dress days. Just before the pandemic he was able to accompany his father to Switzerland (where his sister was attending school) and then Madrid. Pablo found the buildings in Spain inspiring, especially as he hopes to study architecture. The Cantus were easily able to navigate in Spain as the family of six (including brother Miguel, RHS 2019) moved to Stone Oak from Mexico when Pablo was two years old.

 

Back at Reagan sophomore year, Pablo trained hard to earn a spot on Reagan’s varsity soccer team. The disciplined athlete has spent several summers at the very competitive IMG camp in Florida. While waiting for Reagan’s season to officially begin, a friend from IMG invited him to play in a tournament in Culiacan, Mexico, that included other international teammates. Now that he knows what to expect, Pablo’s goal is to win the tournament when he returns to play this fall.

 

Pablo has many ties to friends and relatives in Mexico. His father runs a baseball team in Saltillo called the Seraparos, where they played against legend Bartolo Colon at the end of his career. Pablo contributed to designing jerseys, emblems and hats to promote the team, which the budding entrepreneur marketed to peers and through social media, raising several thousand dollars. 

 

To start the new year, the determined competitor completed the 75 Hard Challenge, a rigorous mental and physical training regimen which allows for no diet or exercise cheats and includes reading a non-fiction book. Pablo was encouraged by Navy Seal David Goggins’ book, Can’t Hurt Me.

 

 “He influenced my life and helped me push through the challenge,” Pablo said, even inspiring some of his college essays. He and oldest brother, Cesar, were the only ones in their group able to conquer the program. “I lost 15 pounds and was in the best shape of my life,” Pablo said. He will bring that spirit and drive to Reagan’s upcoming soccer season, where he’s set his sights on victory. Last year the undefeated district champs beat their archrival, Lee, and lost only to the Lake Travis team that won the state championship. Now a team captain, Pablo’s motivated to repeat the Rattlers’ memorable playoff run. “I’m very happy with what we were able to accomplish,” he said. Despite his international opportunities, Pablo counts playing with Reagan teammates as his most memorable high school experience.

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