By the time Keagan Sanchez reached the middle of his sophomore year at Jordan High, he wasn’t old enough to drive a car, but he became a father.
He didn’t have a home and he hardly had a family his mother left when he was 14, his father was never really in the picture but even though life became more complicated with the birth of his son, Keagan didn’t give up on going to school.
He grew up fast, got a job, and found a support system of teachers, coaches and counselors that guided him through high school. Now, as a result of their help,
Keagan’s upcoming graduation is about to become a momentous occasion for himself and his toddler son.
“I’ve had great people surrounding me and helping me the whole way,” Keagan says as he looks back on his high school experience. “With all of their support, I was able to do it. I never thought I wouldn’t graduate I knew that the people that were supporting me wouldn’t let that happen.”
Growing up, Keagan bounced between 21 different schools until he started high school. The instability was hard to take, Keagan says, and he often looked to the educators in his life for direction. Along the way, he started wrestling as an outlet and he discovered he wasn’t half bad. He won the first championship in which he ever competed. He realized he had a talent, and soon became the captain of the wrestling team at Jordan. He’s been captain ever since, bringing his little boy to practice and letting him toddle around the mats. Coach Christian Babinski even helped the little boy practice his pull-ups.
“He’s a big reason why I made it through Jordan,” Keagan says now as the year is at a close.
Babinski’s support, and the support of his teachers and counselors, helped carry Keagan through the tough times of juggling work, a baby and school. His days often began at 7 a.m. After classes let out for the day, he went to work and stayed there until midnight. He came home, grabbed a few hours of sleep and then was back at it at 7 the next day.
The lack of sleep was hard, but Keagan says he pushed through it.
“I listened to a lot of motivational speaking for sports, and one of the things I’ve always known and heard growing up is if you’re ever going to be successful, you’ve got to be willing to lose sleep,” he says. “I truly believe that, in every aspect of life.”
Now that he’s graduating, Keagan plans to continue his education and pursue his dream of becoming a firefighter. Someday, he plans on telling his son the story of how he never gave up on school, and no matter how hard it was, it was all worth it.
“I think he’ll be proud of what he’s been a part of,” Keagan says. “I plan on giving him the best life possible and I think it will make him more humble to know what me and his mom did for him.”