StoryCorps: A Stanford Family: Groundskeeper Dad Cultivates His Son's Classroom Dream They both went to the prestigious school — though for different reasons. Frankie attended undergrad there, but it was his father, the school's groundskeeper, who inspired him to pursue that education.
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A Stanford Family: Groundskeeper Dad Cultivates His Son's Classroom Dream

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A Stanford Family: Groundskeeper Dad Cultivates His Son's Classroom Dream

A Stanford Family: Groundskeeper Dad Cultivates His Son's Classroom Dream

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DAVID GREENE, HOST:

We hear this music each Friday morning because it is time for StoryCorps. And today, a father and son who were at Stanford University at the same time, one as a maintenance man, the other as a student. Francisco Preciado came to California from Mexico as a child. In the early 1980's, he started working as a groundskeeper at Stanford. He was also raising a family, including his son Frankie. At StoryCorps, father and son sat down to talk about their time on campus.

FRANKIE PRECIADO: Since I was around 9 or 10, I would come sometimes with you to help you on campus.

FRANCISCO PRECIADO: I remember I told you that, one day, you were going to go here to Stanford.

PRECIADO: That really stuck with me. And when I also would go with mom to clean houses, I saw the hard work, and that set the example for me. So because of you I applied.

PRECIADO: And then you told us that you had been accepted, that you were worried that, financially, dad, I don't know if I can go because I don't have the money. And I told you your mom and I will do whatever needs to be done.

PRECIADO: When I was on campus, I knew that on Mondays and Fridays you'd clean the fountains around 1:15, so I would make sure that I would walk that way to go and see you and check in to see how things were going.

PRECIADO: It was a routine. And my friends there at work there always would tell me, oh, I see your son over here or I've seen him over there. It was like I had extra eyes watching over you.

PRECIADO: Do you remember what I told you my graduation day?

PRECIADO: Of course. You said, dad, this diploma is for you. And I still joke because we have that diploma at home on the wall. I go no, you can't take that with you. You told me that was mine. I'm keeping it.

PRECIADO: Reflecting about your life, you have any regrets?

PRECIADO: Yes, I do have one major regret. I was actually going to college to be a teacher, but I had financial problems so I had to leave school and get a full-time job. And sometimes, I still think about being able to be a teacher, but I feel to me that it's too late. So to see my son go to Stanford, it's like a little bit of me there. It gives me a lot of pride.

(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC)

GREENE: Francisco Preciado, talking with his son Frankie at StoryCorps in San Francisco. Frankie graduated from Stanford in 2007, and today he is the executive director of the union that represents Stanford service and technical workers. And yes, that includes his dad. Their interview will be archived at the American Folklife Center at the Library of Congress and also featured on the StoryCorps podcast.

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