Story #50: Julio Cesar Quinteros Jr.
When Julio Cesar Quinteros, Jr’s parents immigrated to the United States, fleeing poverty and war, they had one dream: giving their children a college education.
Growing up in a Pico Union neighborhood, Quinteros wasn’t always sure that would be possible for him. As a first-generation American in the 1970’s, there were many barriers placed in between students like himself and higher education. That is, until he met a young freshman student who was participating in JEP.
The student not only tutored Quinteros and his brother, but mentored the boys outside of school as well. The three of them ate dinner together at the Quinteros family home, walked the USC campus together, and even attended a few football games.
When it was time for Julio to start looking at colleges, his former tutor insisted he apply to USC.
In his application essay, Quinteros said the following “I want the Joint Educational Project to know that what they are doing works. Thank them for me. I will thank them as well. I will walk in to see the director of that program and tell him that the purpose of this project is being fulfilled and that I want to give something back to USC.”
Unsurprisingly, Quinteros was accepted and graduated with a degree in International Relations in 1994. He now works as Vice President of Columbia Banks Trust Company in Portland, Oregon.
He credits JEP for helping him fulfill his parents wishes and attain a college education. To Quinteros, education is the realization of the immigrant dream.
“I know that I’m just a single example, but I know there are many others like me that have been touched and inspired to move ahead local inner-city challenges, language barriers, and other obstacles.” said Quinteros.
Long after his time at JEP, Quinteros still maintains a spirit of service in his community. He volunteers at the Boys and Girls Clubs in Portland, mentoring children the same way JEP students mentored him.
Recently, Quinteros came back to Los Angeles to speak at the 50th anniversary gala. There, he showed students just what JEP is all about.