“The biggest tragedy in life is doing what you are not passionate about,” said Pastor Julio Sotero of Greenville, South Carolina. “It will cause frustration, and it will kill your life. There are a lot of walking dead out there. They walk, but they do not have any passion.” It was this worldview that caused Pastor Sotero and his wife Margie, originally from Puerto Rico, to instill in their son, Julio Isaac, a strong sense of values, passion and dedication.
“I was an actress and heavily involved in any kind of performance or drama throughout my life,” Margie explained. “But though I dreamed of seeing Julio take an interest in the arts, I did not want to push him or influence him in that direction. But before I knew it, he was asking me for string lessons, and I was overjoyed because music requires emotion and passion.”
The love of music eventually did lead Julio to a further interest in the arts. By ninth grade, Julio had told his parents he was passionate about production—the videography, technology and art that went into it.
Thankfully, J.L. Mann High School in Greenville, was the perfect school for someone like Julio. A public school designed somewhat like a tech school, J.L Mann focuses on the student as an individual and tailors classes to his interests and needs. Throughout the years, Julio has taken a wealth of honor classes that will serve as a strong foundation for college programs in his future. He is also heavily involved in school organizations. The newspaper, yearbook and film projects have helped him develop leadership and creativity.
“When Julio went to high school, he said he knew this was the beginning of his future,” Pastor Sotero said. “He didn’t want to walk through the halls of high schools not knowing what he was doing. He said, ‘I don’t want to waste time. I want to have a clear vision.’” This vision is something J.L. Mann has fostered.
When Julio began looking into Full Sail University in Orlando, Florida, his friends questioned his choice, wondering why he didn’t choose to go to a state school. For Julio, the answer was simple. “I want to have a dream for myself. I want to go out, explore and learn from the best of the best.”