WACO, Texas — Like so many first-generation Americans, it took time for Hector Sabido to find his voice.
"I remember starting Kindergarten going home crying because I didn't understand what my teacher or my friends were telling me," Waco City Council member Hector Sabido said.
Waco ISD schools at the time did not offer ESL, or Bilingual and English as a Second Language, classes to help kids like Sabido learn English in a structured way.
Sabido said mastering English took time.
"If I had homework, it was hard for my parents to understand," Sabido said. "They really didn't speak the language. Learning English was definitely a challenge for me. But it was also something I grew into."
That hard work paid off as Sabido earned an academic scholarship to Baylor University.
Later, he would take his love for language and his community by launching a career in the media industry – eventually, working in radio.
A medium Sabido said has deep ties with the Hispanic community. Unlike other broadcast forms, and to many in Central Texas, radio is a lifeline to what's happening in the world.
"Radio is still the number one form for Hispanics to get their news, their sports, their TV updates, their weather updates," Sabido said. "Radio is still very near and dear to the Hispanic community. It's a form of home."
To Sabido, celebrating Hispanic Heritage Month is not just about honoring the past but paving a new path forward for the future.
"Hispanic Heritage Month celebrates all of the attributes and abilities and contributions that Hispanics have made to Central Texas," Sabido said. "But it also commemorates and celebrates that there will be others to come after us."
He said that a big part of the special month is service and giving back to the community. That's something Sabido said has been a lifelong pursuit – especially after winning a seat on the Waco City Council in 2019.
Sabido said he's optimistic that Hispanic traditions and culture are alive and well, but each Central Texan can do their part to help out and serve in the community.
"I'm hopeful that we are beginning to see that transition with more Hispanics at the forefront," Sabido said. "I hope I'm doing my due diligence and paving the way for those that are to come afterward as well."