|Photo by Akash Kataruka. Licensed via Creative Commons.|
The story reports that Mario came to the U.S. from Juarez, Mexico in the eighth grade. Speaking almost no English, he entered English Language Learner classes at DuPont Tyler Middle School before heading to McGavock. Dupont Tyler ELL teacher Carmen Rivera encouraged Cardiel to take honors and AP classes at McGavock, where he received straight A's his four years there.
Teachers described Cardiel to the Tennessean with high praise:
He’s one I remember because how fast he learned...He was a perfect gentleman. No behavior problems. He came to this country willing to learn.Cardiel plans to attend Lipscomb University and become a surgeon.
He has extraordinary work ethic. He appreciates the opportunity and takes advantage of those opportunities.
When you see someone that dedicated, you want to fall over trying to help them...If I ever suggested a novel, he would read it. He was always giving and willing to help someone else. It wasn’t about competition. It’s not just about Mario to him. He wants to be responsible and change the world.