Someone will persevere
Juggling work, school, and family life is nothing new for Julio Romero. Growing up with two brothers and working full-time, Romero quickly learned how to balance the important things in life, while still finding time for school and recreation. As a young man, his fascination with machines attracted him to the automotive technology program at Marion’s Tri-Rivers Career Center, and later to the Universal Technical Institute in Houston, Texas.
When he returned to his hometown of Marion in 2013, his mother had fallen ill with ovarian cancer. With a younger brother just a few years into his teens, Romero knew what an impact this hardship would have on his household and decided to take action. He began working 60 hours a week at a local factory and did whatever he could to support his family.
“My mother brought me to Ohio State Marion,” he said, “She made me sign up for school.” Often running on fewer than four hours of sleep and working until three o’clock in the morning, he would then drive his youngest brother to school at sseven a.m. Romero knew his mother wanted better for him. “It’s good, honest work, but it’s not glamorous and it’s not nice. It’s demanding,” he said.
“On her death bed, she made me promise to finish my education and the path I was on.” said Romero. “So that’s what I did.”
Today, he has more than a few semesters under his belt, and he’s more involved on campus than ever. To his identity as son, brother, and caregiver, he can now add orientation leader, Arabic Club president, and student assistant at Ohio State Marion’s Larry R. Yoder Prairie.
Romero is excited to continue along his educational journey as a mechanical engineering major and plans to announce a dual major, adding welding engineering. He hopes to make his late mother proud and fulfill his promise to her.
“That’s all she wanted me to do was go to college, to have a simple, quiet life with a family – something that we never really had,” he said, smiling. “I’m here for her, I’m here for myself, and I’m here for my family.”