Gerardo came to MCC from his home in Logroño, Spain after two years as an international exchange student, first at Newport Middle High School and then at Mount Royal Academy in Sunapee.
Now a welding major at MCC, Gerardo credits his teacher Mr. Speer at Newport Middle High School for encouraging him to try welding. Not only did he like it ("I like to keep moving and work with my hands as well as my brain"), he was good at it. "When I discovered that I was really good at welding, I continued to travel to Newport High in the morning for welding classes even after I transferred to Mount Royal, where I took my regular classes in the afternoon. My instructor was friends with MCC’s welding director and some of the instructors, and he knew it was a good program, so he suggested I apply."
Gerardo first visited MCC with his guidance counselor from Mount Royal and then attended an Open House to speak with the welding instructors and take a tour. "I liked it immediately," he says. "I felt comfortable right away since the MCC instructors knew my teachers. They really made me feel welcome and even gave me some books to begin studying."
Gerardo originally came to the U.S. to improve his English. Although he studied English in Spain for 10 years, American conversational English was challenging. "In Spain they taught us grammar and we didn't learn how to speak... the way to learn any language is by going to the country." Despite all the paperwork involved in getting approval for his student visa to remain here for college, Gerardo says "It's been worth it already! I respect my instructor Larry (Lavigne) so much – he has a lot to teach me, and I'm also learning so much from the hilarious Mr. Hanna... and the experience of both will prepare us for what's out there when we go to work."
What's in Gerardo's future after he finishes his degree? "I want to keep studying welding in America, but let's see how these two years go and then I'll decide depending on the circumstances of life."
In his free time, Gerardo likes to work on cars and spend time with his friends. A high point of his summer back in Spain was being there when Spain won the World Cup for the first time. "Everyone was out in the streets, screaming, singing, our flag was everywhere: cars, houses. Everyone was happy with everyone, hugging each other. It was amazing!"
Gerardo likes a lot about life in NH except the weather. He's used to sunny Spain. "I've been to the U.S. many times because my Mom is a flight attendant, but the short days and the really long winter... It's too cold for me!"