Pedro Villalobos is a busy man. He spends his days in Austin working with the Travis County District Attorney’s Office, where he’s assigned to the juvenile division. This department manages all misdemeanors and felonies committed by juveniles. Villalobos says Travis County focuses on rehabilitation, treatment and counseling to reduce recidivism.
His path to Austin, to helping others, has strong Chinquapin roots.
Pedro was a sixth grader at Wharton Dual Language Academy when he met [former Chinquapin co-director], Kathy Heinzerling. Her presentation peaked Pedro’s interest, and so he applied and was invited to Summer Session. He recalls that week as intimidating. As an only child, he was not used to sharing a room with another person, and it was tough being away from his family. But he found great appeal in the fact that Chinquapin was “not like a regular school.” Faculty gave more individualized attention to each student. And students were required to give back to the campus through chores and leadership.
Chinquapin was more intense than what Pedro had experienced in elementary school. He says he kept a positive outlook, although he wondered at the beginning if this was the place for him. He knew the payoff would be great and for the next six years remained focused on his goal of getting to college.
Pedro remembers fondly the many families at Chinquapin: his dorm family, his teacher family, and his sports family (where, as the team manager, he satisfied his craving for organization and for being off campus for away games!). He laughs as he recalls having to wake up early to run laps in the cold before breakfast as punishment for “stupid stuff” he did.
His time in the Chinqua-bubble ended at graduation in 2009, but the skills he gained at Chinquapin – self-discipline and communication and networking – helped him thrive in college. He was eager to make new friends and meet new people.
After starting out at UTSA, Pedro transferred to UT-Austin through the CAP Program. His love of sports and the cost of school made UT a compelling choice. He found his true passion in politics after volunteering on political campaigns. During college Pedro spent a summer as an intern with a nationally renowned attorney in Austin, who opened his eyes to the legal field. Pedro graduated from UT Law in 2016 and credits Chinquapin’s insistence on self discipline and time management for enabling him to excel in school.
Today, Pedro focuses his energy and time on helping others, on improving his community, on living out that Quid Pro Quo spirit.