In September 2013, I wrote a column for La Prensa on my long-time friend and internationally acclaimed singing sensation Patsy Torres. I was thrilled to recently discover she will serve as the 2016 Grand Marshal for the annual Fiesta Parade.
At the time I wrote about whether or not I was making a difference in people’s lives. I used examples of teachers touching the lives of their students using myself as but one example. As a retired teacher I would like to believe it to be true.
To this day I can only pray that I succeeded. Like any other teacher my former students will make that final assessment.
Back then I heard the testimonial of Patsy Torres in front of a women’s group. Having known her for years and her brother Kip who was a neighbor of mine in Balcones Heights when I served as a City Councilman, I took lots of photos of her performing. It was the first time I observed her sharing her story in front of a crowd on how her dream of becoming a doctor became a reality. Ironically the kind of doctor she became was not the one she envisioned.
According to Dr. Patsy in her presentation at the time, her goal was to be like her grandfather who practiced medicine. Turns out her Doctor title comes from earning her Ph.D. in Educational Leadership not medicine.
Her biography states “Patsy Torres is one of the most important and influential Tejano entertainers of our time.” She has performed for crowds all over the world that have attracted as many as 100-thousand fans at one time.
Gracing the covers of publications on the national and international scene to billboards, Dr. Patsy has been described by Latin Style Magazine as “El Sonido del Futuro.” Her credits are far too numerous to list in this limited space.
While still in college, her first Tejano album yielded a #1 hit that later garnered her the Texas Talent Music Association’s “Female Entertainer of the Year.”
She shared her story at that time about trying to make it through college while performing. It was truly inspirational. Turns out she didn’t have the money to finish her Bachelor’s Degree until the administration offered her a deal to have her promote the University of the Incarnate Word without pay but offered scholarship money to complete her Bachelor’s Degree.
They kept the deal in place all the way through completion of her Master’s Degree and Ph.D. as she continued to perform all over the world. As a fellow graduate of Incarnate Word where I obtained my Master’s Degree many years earlier, I am really proud of my friend.
She shared with her all female audience a conversation she had with her grandfather before she applied for the Ph.D. program. She sought his advice on whether to apply to medical school or obtain the Ph.D. since it was her dream to be a doctor like him. He told her that she could better heal people with her music. With that the rest is history.
A champion in her hometown of San Antonio, she continues to this day to be in big demand as a motivational speaker and role model for schools, charitable and civic organizations by way of her Ph.D.
Based on what she has already accomplished in her music and her motivational speaking, it is a safe bet she is and will continue to “make a difference” in people’s lives. I am looking forward to covering her in photos as she reigns as Grand Marshal of the 2016 Fiesta Parade.
Anyway, as always, what I write is “Just a Thought.”
Steve Walker is a Vietnam Veteran and former Justice of the Peace and Journalist.