Have you ever felt conflicted trying to satisfy the desires of another rather than pursuing your underlying passions? Many young adults are at conflict, attempting to satisfy the desires of parents rather than continue their passions. Diego had questions such as, "Should I become a doctor, teacher, or musician?" Diego realized that yes, any dream at which he set his sights on could be achieved. Mondragon practices as a school psychologist and teaches while pursuing his underlying passion for Music. Born in Mexico City but raised in California from the age of five, Diego has genuinely been exposed to both Latin and American culture. Yet, he has a deep respect and passion for his Latin, Spanish, and French heritage. At age seven, he was taught by a strict father, his first teacher in the study of violin who was an acclaimed violinist with the "Magic of Violins of Villa Fontana" that toured the Americas before joining the San Diego Symphony where he performed for twenty-three years. Classically trained, Mondragon played his first solo violin concerto at age ten and became the first chair in the South Bay Youth Orchestra in San Diego. At age fifteen, he was offered a full scholarship to the Royal British Conservatory in England, experiencing many difficulties, including stereotypes. Due to the increasing challenges dealing with these stereotypes, he had a falling out with his father and left home at the age of fifteen. Wanting nothing more to do with the violin and living with relatives in Mexico, Diego returned home and joined the U.S. Marine Corps, where he earned his high school and college diplomas. Unable to find work in the field of aviation after serving eight years in the Marine Corps, Mondragon returned to the violin and started working on a bachelor's degree in string pedagogy. He also began working as a second language English instructor in Spring Valley California, where a mentor suggested he look into becoming a high school counselor due to his background and ability to connect with young students. Diego advanced further and became a high school psychologist, and his progress did not stop there. He discovered Jazz Violin while giving string lessons to help pay for his master's degree program, early influences from artists such as Herb Albert, Jean-Luc Ponty, Joe Venuti, Stephen Grappelli, and Didier Lockwood. Diego played for presidents Ronald Regan and Roberto de La Madrid of Mexico, and has performed in venues in Cuba, Paris, Barcelona, England, Italy, and Japan.
Today his music album "Corazon de Mondragon," with eight original compositions described as a mixture of acoustic-jazz, Latin-jazz, flamenco, and romance. Diego has played in many significant events throughout California and abroad, gaining influence and followers. As a performer, musician, and producer, Diego believes, "Music can inevitably tap the still, mysterious deep well of our emotions. Music can recreate emotions and get the listeners involved with the performer's emotions. Listeners are emotional while listening to that Music, and ofter we hear them say, "This is my song" and feel that particular emotion each time they hear the song. Music is created from the heart and molded by passion. As musicians, we are inherently creative, and we can derive intense pleasure from a particular piece of Music that we listen to or produce. All such works of art are the result of an inner urge. That is why Music is inherently beautiful. It prepares the soul for something higher.". Diego combines his passion for Music with his profession as a school psychologist. He uses Music to help his students visualize and deal with the difficulties that he had faced before. Diego says, "Having dealt with a lot of these same pains and struggles, I know and understand where they are coming from.". He is passionate about empowering his students to pursue any profession or desired goal, providing advice on career choices, and balancing them with personal preferences. Diego instills confidence and motivation for his students, which helps to highlight and tackle the alarming dropout rate of students. Many people look outward for validation or solutions to life, but spiritual people go within and meditate for guidance. Mondragon practices meditation daily, and his spirituality is evident in his ongoing passion and commitment to Music and people. He is currently pursuing his doctorate in Holistic Health Science to fulfill his ultimate dream, which is to build a rehabilitation center in Puerto Vallarta Mexico that will help children and adults return to a state of health and wellness and reach their full potential.