Marco Sanchez, the new principal at Lodi Middle School, tells the tale of his academic and Olympic road to his present position, in his office Friday.Sanchez
wrestled for Puerto Rico in the Olympics. (Jennifer M. Howell/News-Sentinel)
As a middle schooler, Marco Sanchez
had a tough time.The child of a mother with an eighth-grade education and a father with a fifth-grade education, Sanchez
would be the first one to graduate high school.He
hadn't even thought about college.
Then, early in his
eighth-grade year, his
mother succumbed to a disease that had ailed her
for the past two years.
A self-described "poster child" for ADHD, Sanchez
has no doubts about where he
was headed."I would without a doubt have been on every medication," said Sanchez, now principal at Lodi Middle School.
Luckily for him, his
fifth-grade physical education coach took an interest in him, introduced him to wrestling and built a bridge from the mat to the classroom.
moved on to high school, Sanchez
said it was wrestling that kept him doing well in school and helped him get the attention he
needed at a school with more than 4,000 students.
graduated from high school in San Jose, it was wrestling that helped him get a scholarship to Arizona State University
graduated from college, it was wrestling that paid for the tuition to get first his
master's degree, then his
Now, as a principal of a middle school, Sanchez
has come full circle.
Clearly displayed in his
office are some of the many awards he
has won over the years, as well as his
identification card for the 1996 Olympic Games in Atlanta, where he
wrestled for Puerto Rico.Sanchez
said students often bring up his
experience in the Olympics when they talk to him, but he
always reminds them how he
"The road to the games went through the classroom," he
says.Among the laminated newspaper articles, medals and Olympic memorabilia, Sanchez proudly displays the first drawing he received from a student at Lodi Middle.
Signed "Luis" at the bottom, the drawing shows an aerial view of Lodi Middle's
At lunch, eighth-grader Angel Reyes, 14, tells the story about how, upon meeting him, Sanchez
shook his hand.
"It's like coming back home," Sanchez
...Welcome, Marco wrote on Aug 11, 2007 9:41 AM:" It sounds like Lodi Middle School has what it needs in Principal Marco Sanchez, a disciplinarian with compassion.
Good luck, Marco
... you have a tough act to follow in Dawn Vetica. "