HARLINGEN, Texas (ValleyCentral) — A Harlingen South High School graduate accredits his high school teacher for motivating him to pursue his passion of underwater welding.

Leo Montes, a 2021 Harlingen South High School graduate, is now working as a welder specializing in commercial diving and underwater welding.

Montes attributes his success in the field to his brother-in-law and high school welding teacher for helping him pursue the career path that he was passionate about.

“I became interested in welding because my brother-in-law is a welder and it always looked interesting,” Montes said. “I was able to take a welding class in high school. I loved it a lot.  I talked to Mr. Alvarez, the Harlingen South welding teacher, about other career opportunities in the welding field. Mr. Alvarez motivated me to continue on to go to dive school and become a welder specializing in underwater welding.”

Just graduating from the Ocean Corporation, Montes has a job lined up to work for C-Drive Corporation on the Louisiana Gulf Coast.

Montes said he only began welding as a hobby but through the apprenticeship academy offered at HSHS he was able to discover that he had a true talent for the skill.

After speaking to Mr. Alvarez, Montes said he realized that he wanted to go to trade school and eventually become a saturation diver.

“That is the highest and most well-respected job in the diving community,” Montes said. “Diving is mentally challenging but once you are able to focus on the goal, have the mindset to work on that goal, and use your energy to work on this goal, everything else begins to come into place.”