He became good enough that he fought professionally in clubs around south Texas.
One day, while Jose was reading the magazines in his barber’s shop (as he sometimes did to improve his reading), he came across some instruction blogs for an electronics correspondence course. Jose, who was 14 at the time, wanted to study the materials, so he struck a deal with his barber: The barber agreed to “rent” the course materials to Jose for $1 per lesson, provided that Jose answered the test questions at the end of each lesson and sent them in under the barber’s name.
When Jose earned the diploma, it was in the name of the barber, who then displayed “his” achievement proudly on the wall for all his customers to see.
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Jose, in turn, used his newfound knowledge of electronics to begin selling and repairing radios. He eventually built one of the largest electronics repair businesses in south Texas. (Today, many people in Laredo remember Jose as the TV repairman and find it hard to accept him as a scientific researcher whose course is taught all over the world!)
Jose earned the respect of the people in his community.
These accomplishments were pretty impressive for a youngster who had to educate himself and support his family since age 6. But after he got married and started his own family, there was one area where Jose’s hard work and street smarts weren’t paying off: