Second year Pierce College student, Auto Engineering major, Kevin “Che Che”, Campos poses in the Botanical Garden on Friday, Feb. 26, 2016 in Woodland Hills, Calif. Photo: Laura Chen
Not many young adults can say they have experiences that shake them to the core. But with family at stake and courage at hand, Pierce College sophomore Kevin Jose Campos Hurculez plunges deep into the waters to aid his family.
Hurculez, also known as “Che Che” by family and friends, has many adventures to tell for those who are willing to listen. Since he was 12-years-old, Hurculez’s family had struggled financially. This pushed him to seek employment at an early age.
“I came with my uncle to basically do gardening work. One day we had a gig, you could say,” Hurculez said. “This family was going to pay us a lot. To a point where I was going to get at least $3,000.”
The job that was offered to the young student was an unexpected departure from what he had become accustomed to.
Hurculez was hired as the butler for a wealthy family in Ohio after six years of maintaining a relationship with them as their gardener.
“I thought we were going to do a house but sadly it became a mansion,” Hurculez laughed. “They told us just to do the flower beds, cut the grass, take out three stumps, and clean around the lake.”
After the initial project was finished the family agreed to have Hurculez and his uncle take care of the mansion. They worked three to four days a week and traveled between California and Ohio. However, the job and the distance could not sever the bonds with his family.
“In a latino family you can’t say we can separate, like legitimately, I came back to my family,” Hurculez said. “No matter if I am gaining more money to support myself. It came to a point that I decided to use the money I had to help out the family. I had to help them out because they helped me out.”
Over time, Hurculez had shown the family qualities that prompted the lady of the house, Rose, to offer him a job as a butler when he was 18 years old. After graduating high school he accepted the position.
“He is loyal to a fault,” public relation major Jared Henderson said. “[Hurculez] Che Che’s best quality is loyalty. He’s always got your back and he’s always looking out for people and taking care of people.”
When he the age of consent, Rose gave Hurculez the choice of residing in the mansion so that he would not have to make the long trip between California and Ohio.
During summer vacations, Hurculez had the opportunity to travel to El Salvador to honor his Olmec ancestors—a tradition that Olmec people must do.
In Ohio there are few to any latinos and in the mansion there was only one. Hurculez. He had many duties from grocery shopping, to car washing and anything inbetween. All throughout the manor French, Korean and other languages were heard.
“When I was in Ohio, [there was] a weird depression feeling every single time that I was stressed or in trouble,” Hurculez said. “I always felt like someone would come and help me but because I was alone most of the time it came to a point that I had a weird feeling in my gut.”
As time passed, Hurculez learned the difficulties of dealing with paying bills, doing laundry, cooking for himself and learning how to take care of himself.
Herculez found that friendships were a good way to make himself feel human.
“I started to try to make friends because being alone doesn’t feel right,” Hurculez said.
Herculez never lost sight of his objective, always doing what he felt was right for his family.
“I’d just feel like, it [being away from family] was cold basically. But then once in awhile I thought ‘I’m helping the family out and whatever I do here is affecting my family over there,’” Hurculez said. “That means I have to continue being here.”
Despite these daily affirmations, Hurculez missed his family too much and decided it was time to go back home and focus on his studies. When Hurculez arrived his home felt oddly foreign.
“It’s like coming back to a new group of people,” Hurculez said. “It feels awkward when you don’t see your family for over a year. A lot had changed and a lot hadn’t. I was surprised by the atmosphere itself. [But] we slowly came back together.”
Soon after his return, Hurculez began taking classes at Pierce to fulfill his general education plan. His goal is to transfer to a university that has a program in audio-engineering.
In 2015, Hurculez took English 101 for the English requirement. He immediately connected with Uri Hertz, a professor of English at Pierce College.
“Among the first things that struck me about Kevin was that he had a very friendly, forthcoming spirit expressed in a melodious and resonant baritone voice,” Hertz said.
On campus, Hurculez has many friends. Henderson, whom is a close companion, attributes Hurculez’s popularity to his “bright personality.”
“His energy, his openness, just how he has a good time no matter what’s going on even with school and the work,” Henderson said. “He’s always a happy person. You can never find him with a frown on his face.”