The day her father died, on the eve of her 16th birthday and before finishing high-school Satcha Pretto would not give up. The now-co-anchor of Primer impacto, weekend edition (Univisión) stayed in school as an honor student while her mother worked hard to raise her two children. Satcha, who had the opportunity to receive a bilingual education (Spanish-English) in her native Honduras, knew too well that a solid education was the key to her dreams.
“Things had become extremely difficult and I wanted to go to college in the United States,” says Pretto, 28, in an interview with Peopleenespañol.com.
Satcha sought every opportunity until she received the big news that changed her life: a partial Carr scholarship to study at Angelo State University, in San Angelo, Texas.
“I loved it since the moment I got there. Those were unforgettable years,” says the journalist, who also worked at the admissions office in the university.
And Satcha never forgot that university, located in a town of 90,000 population, three hours by car from the great city of San Antonio. Now, after having made it as a reporter and anchor on local TV in Midland Odessa and Dallas, TX–as well as nationwide, covering historic events such as the Pope’s visit to Brazil and United States–she helps recruit and register new students for Angelo State University.
“It’s a way of giving my support to this university that gave me so much…to come here to study and live the American Dream. I was invited to participate [in this campaign] and I accepted because one cannot constantly receive and not give something back. I feel a lot of love for the university,” says Pretto, who graduated in 2001.
English-language brochures with Pretto’s photo encouraging potential students to study in this university and advertising campaigns in the mainstream media such as the Texas Monthly –the most prestigious news magazine in Texas and one of the top publications in the United States– and in U.S. News & World Report are some of the Honduran journalist’s key contributions.
“We are delighted with her wonderful generosity because we believe that [Pretto] is a role model for Hispanic students,” says Preston Lewis, communications director of Angelo State University.
“Her work ethics, her intelligence and her commitment to this profession are values that all of us, Hispanic or not, can learn from,” he adds.
Education has become Pretto’s great passion. She has turned into a spontaneous “ambassador.” When she travels to her native Honduras she takes brochures of her university, and in the United States she encourages young immigrants to pursue an education.
“My advice is to focus on whatever you want to accomplish and to put together a plan to achieve it. To knock on every door, even if they believe that those doors are closed,” says, Pretto.
And she emphasizes: “And to study. There are so many opportunities, so many scholarships…because education is the most important element in your life. You may have good or bad jobs, but a good education is something you will carry with you until you die.”
Satcha Pretto found her opportunity in San Angelo, far from the huge skyscrapers she had seen in American movies, eating tex-mex food –she loves chicken enchiladas in red sauce and burritos– and wrestling with a new language she had learned as a child.
“When I came here I could not understand the English spoken in West Texas, there was no public transportation, and most of my schoolmates had never been out of Texas. It was a culture shock,” she remembers.
“But I found the enormous love of the people, and it became an extremely familiar atmosphere. Most students would come to classes every day from other towns and I found a lot of support,” says Pretto.