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Hispanic Heritage Month: Abington High senior, future welder hopes to be spark for others

Abington High senior, future welder hopes to be spark for others
Abington High senior, future welder hopes to be spark for others 02:04

ABINGTON, Pa. (CBS) -- Luis Ramos McMahon has had a spark since he was little.

"When we first met him, the first thing we noticed was how fast he ran and how his smile lit up the room," Luis' adoptive mother Rachel said. 

"Whether it was baseball or in the yard, he was 9 years old and run down the street and his face would just glow," adoptive father Shane said. 

So it's no surprise, this Abington High School senior found his calling as a welding student at Eastern Center for Arts and Technology.

"He brings a light to the class. It would be the same without him," a teacher said.

"I just love seeing the metals form together," Luis said. 

His story is a lot like his trade, a journey with many challenges.

"First grade I couldn't read. All I spoke was Spanish," Luis said. 

While he grew up in Philadelphia, his birth parents lived in Puerto Rico. He moved to a few different homes until 2014, when he was adopted by his dad Shane and mom Rachel.

"To be a child in school who's not reading fluently, the amount of effort that you have to be making in and out of the classroom is a lot of extra work," mother Rachel said. 

"It was three years of us every day at school, after school," father Shane said. 

Now at 18, Luis has learned a new language and something important about himself.

"I was never really a book-smart person. I was always on-hands. I love to do stuff with my hands that's how I learn better," Luis said. 

Like learning to weld, his story has taught him and his family the beauty of what can become of something blended.

"He definitely had a lot of love early on from his family of origin and a lot of love from his adoptive family," mother Rachel said. 

"And every bit of that makes up who is he today," father Shane said. 

"Looking at my story, I've always fought through things and have had people fight with me," Luis said. 

This future welder hopes to be a spark for others.  

"Having your own little pod and the people that will support you through anything will help you!" Luis said. 

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