Big day for Houston med students

March 20, 2008 4:18:59 PM PDT
Thursday was a big day for doctors-to-be. They were finding out where they will do their residencies. It's called 'Match Day,' but for one student in Galveston, it's extra special. Cesar de Paz's family has sacrificed so much just so he can be here. His family moved here from El Salvador and they've struggled to keep him in school. To make it work, they banded together to help him achieve his dream.

In 1982, his family immigrated to the United States after fleeing war-torn El Salvador. Soon after coming to this country for a better life, his father moved back, leaving Cesar's mother to raise three boys on her own.

"Even though she had limited education, she somehow knew this was our opportunity to make something of ourselves," he said.

Cesar's brothers, too, did what they could to help the family. Each gave up their own dreams of an education so he could get into medical school. His mother worked twice as hard to make sure he succeeded.

"Any parent would want to see their child become something. And you don't expect anything in return," she told us.

It was that support which brought Cesar here today, kick-starting a career in psychiatry. As a final reward, he was accepted into residency at UTMB, his first choice to be close to the ones who made it all possible.

"Coming from my background with nothing to be here this day, it's amazing," said Cesar. "It shouldn't have happened, but along the way, I had people who believed in me and gave me opportunities and that was the key to my success."

Just to show the amount of commitment, Cesar's brothers actually had to miss Thursday's ceremony because they were working, providing for the family.

By the way, 192 medical students graduated this year from UTMB. One hundred and fifteen will do their residencies right here in Texas.

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