DENVER – We've heard many times how someone's dreams are taking off. In this case, that expression perfectly fits what's happening for a Denver teenager.
Because of Robin Rocha's dedication to getting better in every aspect of his life, Rocha is the first in his family to go to college.
He is going to study aviation. Rocha's dream is to fly planes.
Rocha is fascinated by planes much more so than cars which he knows very well. He could change tires as a little boy.
Rocha would spend every afternoon after school at his father's tire shop at West 38th Avenue and Kalamath Street in Denver. He would sit in the same chair in the crowded shop. He would try to not pay attention to the noise coming from the garage and instead focus on his homework.
That was hard in elementary school, but then, Rocha realized he needed to change.
"My grades were very low, but when my grades started rising, everyone just started becoming proud of me," Rocha said. "That inspired me to do more."
That also around the same time when his friends told him he was really good at soccer and should join a team.
Rocha was "Senior of the Year" for Metro League 3-A during the 2013-14 school year. He was the captain of his Bishop Machebeuf High School team during both his junior and senior years.
Rocha graduated in May 2014 from Machebeuf with grades that ensured a partial academic scholarship to Lynn University in Boca Raton, Fla. Rocha will study aviation and play on the university's soccer team.
"People ask me if I want to go pro, and I say no. I want to fly planes. Soccer is just something that brings me joy," Rocha said.
"Everything about me seems to go towards planes. My friends call me Bird as a nickname, and they say, 'Hey Bird, fly! You have to be up in the sky.' Everything points that way."
Rocha credits his father for all that he has accomplished. Aside from being on the sidelines for most of his soccer games over the years, Alberto Rocha taught him how to be a man.
"He had additions and stopped all that stuff for me," Rocha said of his father. "I was the first kid to graduate high school from all of our brothers and sisters. I thought this could make him proud. As long as he's happy, I'm happy."
Alberto Rocha is beyond happy. "He's a really good son. I'm so happy to see him growing and see what's going on in his life."
The two are working side by side all summer at Rocha's Tires & Service. However, you won't see Rocha there first thing in the morning or at the end of the day.
Rocha's soccer coach at Lynn University has him getting ready for college play. Every morning, he works out with the ball with his former high school coach. In the afternoons, it's off to the gym for strength training.
While very excited for this next phase of his life, Rocha will miss his large family and his friends in Denver.
"I love this city," Rocha said. "The people here are awesome. They're very respectful of who you are."
(KUSA-TV © 2014 Multimedia Holdings Corporation)