A year ago Kevin Hermosillo wouldn’t have spoken up for his fellow students, let alone volunteer helping others across San Bernardino County.
Today the 17-year-old senior at San Bernardino High School said he still gets a little nervous when speaking publicly, but is a better person because of the Mr. Cardinal program.
“It’s helped built my confidence,” said Hermosillo. “I’m able to speak more clearly and get to the point quicker. This has also helped me build the connections I could use to succeed.”
The annual event–an ambassador program that gathers a group of young men ages 16 to 18 to participate in an array of competitions–strives to teach students about the essentials of etiquette and importance of professionalism and mentorship.
“There is a need to promote youth programs that help prevent these boys from falling to violence and drug use,” said Jamie Rios, the program’s coordinator.
Many of the participants are students that demonstrate high achievement in the classroom and participate in extracurricular activities on campus. Being Mr. Cardinal is a huge responsibility but also a great learning experience for the young men, Rios said.
Last year’s winner Julio Romero admits he’s ran himself thin with all the commitments he has around campus.
“It gets a little hard balancing tennis with club stuff,” Romero said.
Nonetheless, he believes the experience of being Mr. Cardinal has prepared him to meet the high demand of the professional world.
“I like working hard in everything I do,” said Romero. “Being Mr. Cardinal only amplified that. The faculty, staff, and students on campus expect more from you. It sets high expectations for you to achieve. It’s a good habit to learn for the future.”
Both Hermosillo and Romero plan to attend college after graduating this spring. Participating in Mr. Cardinal has motivated the young men to return to San Bernardino to become mentors and contributors to the improvement of the city.
“It made me care about my city more,” Romero said. “I feel it’s all been worth it.”