When Francisco Preciado was six years old, his family moved from Mexico to the California. They entered the United States through the Bracero program, which, starting in 1942 and lasting more than 20 years, allowed Mexican workers to come to the U.S. to take temporary agricultural jobs.
At the time, Francisco spoke only Spanish, but he quickly learned English with the help of his teachers. This led him to dream of one day becoming a teacher himself, but financial demands and the need to support his family forced him to drop out of school and begin working full-time.
In the early 1980s, he took a job as a groundskeeper at Stanford University and was often accompanied to the college by his young son Frankie. Francisco hoped that one day Frankie would become a student at Stanford, and his dream came true with Frankie graduating from the university in 2007 with degrees in political science and Chicano(a) Studies.
Now 31 years old, Frankie is the executive director of the union that represents Stanford’s service and technical workers, and whose membership also includes his father.
Francisco and Frankie came to StoryCorps to talk about their relationship and their time together at Stanford—one as a maintenance man, the other as a student.
Originally aired May 13, 2016, on NPR’s Morning Edition.