Coming from Honduras to the U.S., Frederman Mendoza, also known as Freddy, was faced with different challenges than your average high school student applying to college: language barriers, culture shock, both social and academic adjustment, to name a few.
When Freddy first came to the States he reunited with his parents in Miami, after fifteen years of separation, where he attended one semester of community college and worked to help support his family. Freddy describes his time in Florida as difficult and tiring. Due to the high cost of living in Miami, Freddy was forced to balance a demanding job with academics.
He then received an invitation from admissions counselor, Jamie Grant, to apply to Silver Lake College of the Holy Family in Manitowoc, Wisconsin. Once Freddy visited the college, he fell in love with the people and the peaceful place. The small town, located on Lake Michigan, offered a different feel than the ocean-side metropolitan area of Miami.
Freddy’s decision to attend Silver Lake College was influenced by four main factors — the opportunity it provided him to attend a 4-year college, a family away from home, and the ability to become a leader and utilize his talent as a soccer player.
An opportunity to help his family
Although it was difficult to leave his family in Florida, Freddy was comforted with the knowledge that he could help his family more if he left to pursue his education further. He realized he would eventually need to be the one to look out for and serve as a role model for his younger brother, and that he would need to be educated in order to provide for his family. Freddy says of his family, “I want to provide a good life for them, a better life.” His desire to support his family serves as a strong motivator for him to succeed in college.
Silver Lake College: a home away from home
Freddy describes his transition to Silver Lake as a hard one, but the people — the faculty, his friends, other students, and tutors — made it conquerable. With the help of his teammates, friends, and new Silver Lake family, Freddy found a home at SLC. While Miami was full of distractions, after moving to Manitowoc, he says that he was finally able to “concentrate on what [he] really wants.”
Starting Silver Lake College’s first soccer team
Prior to coming to Silver Lake, Freddy broke his leg and had to rest for a year and three months before attempting to play soccer again. This crushed him, but his Mom said to him, “It happened to you because God has a better plan for you.”
The Silver Lake College soccer team was that “better plan.” After deciding to attend SLC, Freddy proposed the idea of beginning a club-level soccer team. In an effort to bring on more soccer players, he worked with the administration and staff to host a meet-and-greet soccer event in Florida so that his friends could meet some of the SLC staff, including Dr. and Mrs. Domes. Two of Freddy’s friends from Florida enrolled after meeting the staff that January, and he hopes to bring eight or nine more to SLC in conjunction with other students from across the country interested in playing soccer at the college.
Freddy’s drive and passion for soccer opened up the door for him to be a thought leader and team player at SLC. Freddy says that his main goal on campus is to create and maintain a good team.
And now as a new member of the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA), Silver Lake College offers Freddy and other students like him not only the opportunity to excel and grow academically, but also as team leaders and team players.
The chance to be a leader
For the first time in Freddy’s life, he got to experience what it felt like to lead a group of peers to win something that mattered to him. “When you have a soccer team… you need to have that person that leads the team and gives commands — to go forward, doing what we love — to play better,” says Freddy.
Freddy goes on to say that experiencing the change that SLC brought to his life was simply good: “...the change was good. I believe the change is good for my friends too.” That's why he decided to share it with his friends and teammates in Florida.