Despite the many changes Cristian Montes has had to deal with in his life, he will walk in this spring’s commencement ceremony as the first in his family to graduate from college.
Montes was born in Michaocán, Mexico. His father would travel to the United States to work for months at a time, and then head back to Mexico. His dad applied for permanent residency, and after nine years it was granted.
Within three months, 16-year-old Montes moved to the United States.
“It was a huge adjustment; my home was in Mexico,” said Montes. “But I set my mind to trying to adjust to the change. If we were going to be here, I was going to have to make it work.”
Making it work
And he did. Montes and his family moved to Denver, where he attended three different high schools. The first was Lincoln High School, which offered a program to help students who did not speak English. After two years Montes felt that he was ready to switch out of the program to mainstream classes.
“I did not want to be in the program for four years,” Montes said. “I felt that I was ready to move over to traditional classes, I was ready for that challenge.”
He transferred to Jefferson High School and then ended up at Kennedy High School, where he graduated in 2014. He applied to several colleges and universities and decided on Colorado State.
He was originally going to major in sports medicine, but quickly decided that the program was not for him, so he chose construction management.
“I switched to construction management because some of my friends were in the program and I heard really good things about it, so I thought I would give it a try and I ended up really liking it,” Montes said. “And now I’m graduating!”
Montes was president of the Colorado Contractors Association’s chapter at CSU during 2017, and after graduation will work as a project engineer at Garney Construction in Littleton.