“I’ll be the third of us to graduate, but I’m also the youngest,” he jokes. “I’m glad. I think that’s the right word for what I’m proud of.
Morales continued, “My mother was first generation born in the United States, and she worked hard as a single parent. We are all here because of her and my grandparents who came here from Nueva Rosita, Mexico. Graduating feels like a tribute to my mom—that all her children have graduated from college.”
A business degree wasn’t always on Morales’ radar. Fresh out of high school, unsure of what to do next, a coaching career seemed to suit him. He began studying kinesiology at UTSA.
As often happens, life took him in a different direction. He won’t join the workforce and enter the classroom until 2020. Morales has been a VIA bus operator for the past five and a half years.
When he was out of college, his grandfather passed away and the epidemic hit. These experiences made him rethink his life plan. Thinking more about what he wanted in his career, he decided to pursue a business degree like his brother. Morales said he always looked up to his slightly older twin.
During the pandemic, morale increased. Six days a week he walked the streets of San Antonio picking up people who had a place to walk. That’s when he decided he needed a change. He enrolled at UTSA and took online courses.
“My perspective changed because of those things,” he said. “I didn’t want to be a bus driver at the end of my life. It’s a good job, but I always want more for my family – they are very important to me – and I want to continue to take care of my mother and grandmother.
Now in his final semester at UTSA, the workload at VIA hasn’t changed. He is currently taking classes on campus three days a week and driving the bus overnight six days a week.
Through it all, he made the UTSA President’s List in spring 2021 and 2022 and again in 2022. He made the Dean’s List in 2021 and the Honor Roll in Fall 2020.
Morales served as the associate vice president of human resources management at UTSA this semester, and explored other interests.
“I am a very busy person. I don’t like to stay in the same area for too long,” Morale said. “I’m involved in learning and doing different things to improve myself.”
He got his CrossFit coaching certification a year ago.
Bitten by the acting bug, Morales hired a surrogate coach six years ago to help him do what he had always wanted to try since childhood. Over the past two years, he has landed several roles as an extra and has appeared in background on productions such as The CW’s “Walker,” Netflix’s new movie “Spy Kids,” and a recent appearance at the San Antonio Zoo.