When Manuel Camacho walks across the stage at Azusa Pacific University’s commencement ceremony in May 2023, he will have achieved a lifelong goal: to become the first person in his family to graduate from college. Camacho’s hard work led to this moment, but it wouldn’t have been possible alone. “I want to make them proud.”
It all started with a simple campus tour. Camacho received a letter in the mail from APU, and although he didn’t know much about the school, he and his mother decided to make the 45-minute ride from Colton to check it out. “We both fell in love with APU and all it had to offer. By the end of the tour, we were already talking about admissions and registrations,” he said. it was the right place for me.”
As a first generation student, Camacho faced many challenges. Not knowing where to turn, Camacho found that the APU community provided him with the support he needed to thrive. “The community aspect was such an impact for me,” he said. “APU was where I learned that it was okay to be friendly and talk to random people, introduce yourself to strangers and just have conversations. It was very new to me. It was easy for me to make friends, which I am grateful for.
Camacho also appreciates the Christian aspect of the APU community, the way one feels in an institution that puts God first. “My faith comes first,” he said. “Ever since my mom and I were reintroduced to the church when I was 14, my faith has grown steadily. It influences every decision I make in my business, my school, and my life. great to be surrounded by a community of people who share my values at APU.
With an entrepreneurial background, Camacho decided to major in business. “I learned a lot in my classes that will help me later in life,” he said. “So far, the most important thing I’ve learned is the importance of networking, which helps me in my current business.” He runs his own company called Camacho Customs, where he creates unique shoe designs. “It started at the start of COVID. I was looking for something to do and started looking for custom shoes. I taught myself how to create them,” he said. “At first I was just doing orders for friends and family, then other people started hearing about my shoes through word of mouth.” Camacho has created dozens of leather and canvas sneaker designs, from Vans and Converses to Nike Air Force 1s and even a pair of $400 Air Jordans. His past designs include sports team colors, band logos/album covers, animated characters, flowers, coffee mugs and everything in between. Camacho showcases his creations on Instagram and TikTok. “I bring my clients’ ideas to life.”
As Camacho’s business continues to grow, he hasn’t lost sight of the bigger picture. “One day I would like to partner with a shoe company to grow my business,” he said. “Right now though, my number one goal is to graduate. I’m excited to make my family proud when I walk through this stage.
Posted: August 12, 2022