Former dance student’s son stays in music through piano

The Magnet Tribune: Edward Barrera
Gabriel Torres, son of former student Blanca Martinez (now Torres), plays piano at VMT. She was in dance.

Edward Barrera, Staff Writer

Fourth in a series.

Gabriel Torres is a freshman at VMT. The difference with Gabriel and almost every other student though is that his mother is an VMT alumna.

Gabriel Torres’s mother, Blanca Torres, commented about her own experience and her thoughts on Gabriel attending VMT.

“I was so glad! My first daughter … went to the health magnet (because) she didn’t want to go to VMT … I was really, really happy about it because I went to (VMT) and I was one of the first to graduate there since it opened. I was in the first class of juniors that graduated there and thinking of my kids going to there … it would be a good experience,” Torres said.

Torres then continued about her own experience at VMT.

“They were the best years—I really enjoyed it. To go to a brand new school (at that time) in ’94, ’95, whenever it opened, since I graduated in ’97. It was the first art school we had, maybe the first magnet school that ever opened, so everybody wanted to be there. It felt like you were really excited to be chosen to be there. It’s really nice to see how it’s gone by over the years but I loved the school—the teachers, the principals, everything,” Torres told The Magnet Tribune.

Torres said she didn’t influence her son’s decision of attending VMT.

“He was interested in engineering also, so he was waiting for the acceptance letters. He got accepted to the engineering school, Cigarroa, and VMT for piano, so I told him ‘that’s your choice … that’d be something you’re gonna (do) for four years.’ … He decided to go to VMT,” she said.

Although Torres attended dance in her time at VMT, she did not pursue it.

“I work at (Laredo Independent School District), I’m a parental involvement agent here at the schools. I went to school, I just pursued my degree in education. I didn’t go into dance,” Torres said.

As for Gabriel himself, he has formed opinions on VMT and his experience here.

“It’s everything I thought it’d be and more,” Gabriel told The Magnet Tribune.

Gabriel takes piano classes with Dr. Mary Grace Carroll and has picked up some experience.

“I’ve learned a new piece called Stress and I’ve also learned how to read music. When I entered I wasn’t good at reading music, since I knew how to play it by the way it sounded, but now I can read it,” Gabriel said. “I’ve been playing piano at church a little bit after seenth grade, for about two years. I practice piano at home, too; we have two or three pianos.”

Gabriel was asked how he felt about his mother being a VMT alumna.

“It’s really cool. She even has one of the first Magnet Tribune newspapers at home. She talks to me about (her experiences) when it’s brought up; … sometimes I tell her what goes on at school.”

Gabriel plans to use his piano experience to study music, but is undecided as to where he will attend.