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Faces of CNM: Carlos Manzanedo

He just started college at 53 and is probably the most enthusiastic student on campus
Faces of CNM: Carlos Manzanedo
Carlos Manzanedo

Sep 05, 2018

Carlos Manzanedo almost walked away from his shot at college.

That’s because Carlos, who’s 53, thought the only way into CNM was with his old high school diploma from Mexico that needed to be tracked down and translated—a time consuming and expensive process. But then he got an email from Mark Jacome Salazar, one of the CNM navigators. That email prompted Carlos to come by Main Campus where Mark explained there was another way.

The pair went over to a computer lab and Mark told Carlos that if he scored high enough on the GED practice test, Carlos would receive a voucher that paid for the actual GED exam. Carlos aced the practice round, went on to ace the real thing, secured his GED, and is now a student at CNM.

“At first I thought, ‘I’m too old to put up with all this,’” Carlos says. “But then Mark stepped in, walked me through it, and I could not be more proud to be in college.”  

Carlos came to CNM after a long career in radio and insurance. He moved from Mexico to San Diego back in 1987 and went on to work for a group of Spanish-language radio stations for the next 23 years. When his wife got a job in Albuquerque he changed to insurance sales. He enjoys helping people find the right insurance packages for their needs, but insurance has never been his passion.

Instead, film editing is where he wants to be. He doesn’t want to be behind a camera, but instead behind a computer. He likes taking complicated puzzles or narratives and finding the best way to fit them together.

“I like the challenge of taking other people’s work and putting it together in the best way possible,” he says. “I like the challenge of putting my own feelings aside and finding the best way forward.”

To make all this happen, Carlos enrolled in the Film Technician program and started classes last week. He actually got off to a bumpy start and missed his first class because he showed up to the wrong building. He was also a little intimidated to walk on campus because he’s twice as old as many other freshman.

That said, neither of those things were going to stop him from following a life-long dream. He might be a later learner, but when asked about his age he likes to point out that his dad is 95 and still driving and that his older brother is 73 and still does demolition work. With that in mind, Carlos thinks he still has plenty of time.

“I love to work, and I easily have another 20 good years ahead of me,” he says.