Colby Update: Victor Cancel '02

 

By Ruth Jacobs
 

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Beating the odds has defined Victor Cancel '02 since his family moved from Puerto Rico in 1992. Now he helps others beat the odds, too.

In high school, unable to speak English and thrust into working-class Lawrence, Mass., Cancel set lofty goals"and met them. His diligence paid off when he graduated among the 10 percent in his high school class to attend college.

At Colby, Cancel continued to thrive. His double major in Spanish and international studies and minor in anthropology meant he could choose how to meet his next goal. As he explained it to Colby magazine (winter 2002). "I want to do something that has some kind of personal attachment."

That personal attachment has meant working with Spanish-speaking immigrants to help them improve their lives. As a career counselor for people with mental and physical handicaps, Cancel helps individuals learn English and find jobs in the community. "Sometimes I'm able to help them find employment and increase their motivation and drive to learn more English, which is very important," he said.

A stint out west helped Cancel appreciate being near his family, and he returned to Lawrence, the community he knows so well. "I feel that I understand the people better in this area," he said.

As much as he's at home in Lawrence, Cancel looks fondly on his time at Colby. What does he appreciate most? "The critical thinking skills that I got from my professors and other fellow students. And the environment," he said. "The Maine outdoors."