Finding his true calling

April 13, 2015

Student Jean Cantero used his time at JCCC to decide between three different career paths. After two years and some great experiences, he knows where to go next.

In those last few seconds of the NJCAA women’s basketball championship, Jean Cantero had to hide his excitement – as much he could – when JCCC’s Alexis Brown dropped the game-winning jumper at the buzzer. He was calling the game, and his journalistic objectivity demanded he show a little decorum.

“All the students came running onto the court. I wanted to run down there, too,” he said. “But I couldn’t.”

Cantero’s self-discipline is reflected in his academics as well. He graduates as the first person in his family to attend college, all because he developed a plan.

“Students with parents who went to college, they know what it’s like, and the parents help them out,” Cantero said. “If you’re the first one (in your family) to go to college, you need to have a goal, and not let anything distract you from that goal.”

Excited but conflicted

As a senior at Olathe South High School, Cantero said he saw his friends applying to universities, so at first, his plan was to attend a university, too.

But he was confused as to his major. First, he leaned toward business. Then, he knew he was destined for broadcast journalism. Then again, being a teacher seemed interesting.

“I wanted to do all of them,” he said.

His counselor suggested Cantero enroll at Johnson County Community College. “He suggested that it would be the best place to learn what I really wanted to do, and that’s exactly what happened,” Cantero said.

Exploring the options

Cantero became involved in JCAV, the video production portion of student media, and then with ECAV, the student online radio station. After paying his dues during last year’s NJCAA tournament by calling the third-place game, he and friend/commentator Anna Freije were called up to narrate the championship game.

He and Freijie also have a radio show, “Winners (Heart) Losers,” which airs on ECAV Monday through Friday from 8 to 9 p.m. “We talk about relationships and sports,” Cantero said. “We wanted to do a show about sports, but we also wanted to do something more than that, so we added relationship advice. So I’ll talk a little about sports, and Anna will talk about relationships, and then I’ll comment on what she said, and she’ll talk about what I said. It actually has overlap – sports and relationships.”

Despite what he calls “incredibly positive experiences” in broadcasting, Cantero won’t be on your TV anytime soon. His real calling, he discovered, is teaching.

“I have had some amazing teachers in my life, and this is one way I can pay them back for all they’ve given me,” he said.

He said he wants to teach social studies, and if he’s lucky enough, United States government.

“I find it fascinating,” he said.

Working and helping

His job as a student ambassador has provided him opportunities to meet people and speak at events, including the State of the College address and a recent college-wide staff meeting. He shared his experiences as a first-generation college student and a future educator.

“When I look back on the last two years, the time – it’s gone by so fast,” he said. “You think when you start that you’ll be here for a long time…But the faculty is amazing, I’ve made friends, I’ve worked hard and learned a lot – and it went by quick.”