“A Huge Next Step for Me”: Q&A with Rein and His Mentor Antonio

This year, a total of 275 iMentor seniors in the Bay Area graduated from high school. We are honored to have been part of their journeys and amazed by their hard work and achievements. Congratulations to the Class of 2019 at Aspire Lionel Wilson College Preparatory Academy and James Lick High School!

We caught up with Rein, a senior at James Lick High School, and his mentor Antonio Cancio, to reflect on high school, their iMentor experience over the last two years, and Rein’s next steps this fall.

Congrats, Rein! How does it feel to have graduated high school?

Rein: Thanks. I feel excited and nervous at the same time. Being able to finish high school, all those AP classes and all the projects that I wrapped up during senior year, and all the stress that I went through—those were my accomplishments. I also feel accomplished moving on to college. It’s a huge next step for me.

What are your plans for next year?

Rein: I’m attending a four-year college, San Jose State University. I’m trying to get into the CS (computer science) program by first attending with an undeclared major.

Rein and Antonio at San Jose State University
A visit to San Jose State University

Did you always want to go to college?

Rein: Ever since I started middle school, my parents have been telling me to keep going and going, to further my education. They’re always telling me to go to college and to become successful in the future.

Rein at Honor Night

Rein celebrating with his parents and Antonio at James Lick High School's Honor Night

How has Antonio helped you?

Rein: Antonio helped me a lot with my job applications and with my resume. He gave me plenty of interview techniques. One of the most important things he told me is to not just give the answers to questions, but to share more of your story and show your interest.

He brought me to an iMentor pair expedition at Apple. We got in touch with the regional manager at Apple and she gave us really insightful interview techniques as well. He helped me through a lot of college applications, especially the financial aid parts. He brought me to San Jose State two times already, so I could get a feeling for the school. He tried getting in touch with the people at the CS department.

Antonio, what kind of changes have you seen in Rein in the two years you’ve been his mentor?

Antonio: He's gained a lot of confidence in himself, and he started to manage his time better. He wants to apply for a better part-time job so he can help pay for school. I'm trying to get him to work at an Apple store as soon as he turns 18. Also, he's been way more engaged in the college process as he's had more successes.

How did you support Rein on the path to graduation and college?

Antonio: I wasn't all that different from Rein when I was in high school. I tried to tell him stories about how I did things and how well they worked out for me. A lot of times, he was like, ‘Wow, really? That's all you need to do?’ Or ‘You didn't get straight A’s and you were still able to achieve that?’ I wanted to make sure he knew that the things he wanted to achieve weren't impossible with where he was.

I showed Rein where he needed to look for information about college, so he could make educated choices about where to apply, what programs to apply for, and know all the costs and the grades that he needs. I was in frequent communication with him to see how he was doing and answer any question that he may have had but maybe didn't want to ask.

Also, I showed him where I'm at now in my career at Apple. He already loves Apple, so I try to bring him to work, open him to new experiences, and show him what it's like to work at a place he really admires. I took him to a tour of the Apple store and the manager told him what it was like to work there. He got really excited! He met all of my teammates, who always ask about him.

Rein and Antonio on an iMentor pair expedition to Apple

Rein and Antonio on an iMentor pair expedition to Apple

What are you proudest of Rein for?

Antonio: I'm proud that he not only achieved graduation, but he's going to a great school, and he's going to go there confidently, to study something that he learned that he liked. He could have had a lot of distractions and he could have not really engaged with me, but he really had a good learning experience, and it shows.

What's been the best part of being a mentor to Rein?

Antonio: My favorite part of this mentorship program was how similar I found myself to Rein from the beginning. That made him more relatable and made myself more relatable to him. I don't know what you guys used to match, but it was amazing.

Learn about becoming a mentor, and read more success stories about iMentor students.