Dorothy Cantu recalls the reaction from her family members when she told them of her plans to enroll into Victoria College’s Truck Driving Program.
“My mom and everybody told me I was going through a midlife crisis,” said Cantu, who was 49 when she entered the program. “I told them, ‘No, I’m going to do it.’ I had two young daughters at the time, and I decided I was going to have to do something if they were going to college.
Five years later, Cantu now owns her own trucking company and is an owner-operator of a 2019 Freightliner truck.
“Once I got behind the wheel, I knew I was meant to be a truck driver,” Cantu said. “I had never operated any big trucks before, but it felt right when I got in that cab. It was the best decision I’ve ever made.”
Cantu, 54, worked 17 years as a dental assistant in Gonzales before a friend posted on social media that she had obtained her Commercial Driver’s License after completing the six-week class at VC’s Gonzales Center.
“I decided I wanted to change my career,” Cantu said. “I wanted to make good money but not go to school that long. I heard there was a really good program at VC’s Gonzales Center. I just said I was going to let God lead the way, and everything came into place.”
Cantu enrolled into VC’s Truck Driving Program in 2015. She also applied for a scholarship and wound up not having to pay a penny for the class.
“I am so grateful for that scholarship,” Cantu said. “I am where I am today because of it.”
Cantu had never sat in the cab of a truck until she started the class, but she soon overcame her fears thanks to instructor Veronica Garcia.
“Veronica really explained a lot to us,” Cantu said. “Everything was by the book. She taught us everything we needed to know. So when I got on the road on my own, everything she taught us all made sense.”
After completing the class, Cantu went to work for Averitt Express.
“I was a little nervous when I first got on the road, but once I saw my paycheck, I was like, ‘I can get used to this,’ ” Cantu said.
Cantu has been working for Quality Carriers for three years, hauling fuel from Corpus Christi and San Antonio to barges and railroads along the coast. In 2018, she started her own trucking company, D&K Dreams, named after her two daughters, Dory and Kyndall.
“My plan in five years is to own five trucks, so when the time comes when I get older, I can sit back,” Cantu said.
Cantu has traveled through about 15 states since starting her new career. She has also enjoyed being part of the truck-driving fraternity.
“Truck drivers are a tight group,” Cantu said. “We are the ones who are away from our families and the ones who make sure you can eat that burger at McDonald’s or have clothes on your back. Who is still out there during this pandemic? Truck drivers are to make sure things are still functioning.”
Cantu said she would have never imagined just six years ago that she would have gone from a dental assistant to being a truck driver.
“I can certainly help truck drivers out there who have a toothache,” Cantu said.
Victoria College’s Truck Driving Program is offered at VC’s Main Campus and the Gonzales Center. During the six-week course, students will receive behind-the-wheel training and learn safety, rules and regulations of the industry. A high school diploma or GED are not required to take the class. Scholarships and financial aid are available.
For more information on Victoria College’s Truck Driving Program, call 361-582-2528 or email AskCE@VictoriaCollege.edu.
Victoria College’s Gonzales Center offers day, night and online classes. Students can obtain college credits that can be used toward Associate of Arts and Associate of Science degrees and transfer to four-year universities. VC’s Gonzales Center also offers a Vocational Nursing Program, welding, HVAC and electrical trades. Adult education, General Educational Development (GED) and English as Second Language (ESL) courses are also offered.
For more information on the offerings at VC’s Gonzales Center, call 830-672-6251 or visit VictoriaCollege.edu/GonzalesCenter.