By Cary Shuman
Chelsea sports fans remember Carlos Mojica well. He was the popular, charismatic athlete who impressed teammates and opponents alike with his work ethic, sportsmanship, leadership and enthusiasm for the game.
After graduating from Chelsea High in 1984, Mojica went on to attend and graduate from Bunker Hill Community College where he played baseball. He continued his education at UMass/Boston and Suffolk University, earning a Master’s Degree with a 3.9 grade point average.
Mojica, assistant special agent in charge of the Seattle office of the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) returned to his hometown last Tuesday for the grand opening of the new FBI Boston headquarters on Everett Avenue.
The next morning, at the invitation of School Committee Chair Jeanette Velez, Carlos Mojica spoke to Chelsea High law and forensic science students about his career in the FBI and the education and training necessary to pursue a career in the agency.
Mojica was candid, personable, and engaging in a classroom of enthralled students who listened attentively to a man who stands as a true Chelsea success story. Mojica is a shining example of a boy who rose from the sometime rough streets of Chelsea to earn a position of leadership in the nation’s foremost and most prestigious law enforcement agency in the nation, the FBI.
For more than one hour, Mojica captivated his audience with stories about his distinguished 20-year career, beginning with his decision to submit an application as a candidate for the FBI.
Mojica said he joined the U.S Naval Reserves and became a Navy corpsman (medic) following high school. He enrolled at Bunker Hill and received his associate’s degree and matriculated at UMass/Boston majoring in Legal Studies.
He began his career as a case worker at the Department of Social Service and then took a probation officer’s position in Boston and then at Chelsea District Court.
One day one of Mojica’s colleagues in the probation department asked him to accompany him as he dropped off an application at the FBI office.
“A woman slid an application through the window to me,” Mojica recalled.
Mojica filled out his FBI application and one month later “the FBI called me and I took the test.”
He told the students that he was then invited to the FBI Training Academy in Quantico, Virginia. At that point in his lecture, Mojica showed the students a video that illustrated the training that FBI candidates go through at the academy.
After months of rigorous training at the academy that tested his physical fitness and knowledge in many areas, Mojica was accepted for employment in the FBI. He became a supervisor and now works at the FBI Office for the State of Washington in the post of assistant special agent in charge.
Mojica answered several questions from the students. He volunteered the information that his current salary is $167,000. He said being bilingual was an asset to his candidacy for the FBI.
Mojica said there were a few people along the way who questioned his ability to reach his goals. “Whenever anyone tells me I can’t achieve something, it’s the motivation for me to work even harder,’’ said Mojica. “You can do anything you want, don’t let anyone tell you that you can’t. I had one of my buddies, he’s a retired agent now who really encouraged and supported me. And in turn I try to help people, particularly some of new Latino and Latina agents. I will help anybody.”
The proud son of Luis and Elba Mojica, he said he takes “great pride” in his upbringing in Chelsea.
“Whenever anyone asks me where I grew up, I tell them I grew up in Chelsea,” he said.
A student asked Mojica what he will miss the most when he retires from the FBI.
“That’s easy. The people. I work with incredibly dedicated, highly motivated, smart people. That’s why it’s going to be the toughest thing to leave, because of that.”
He told the students to “be adventurous” in their career path.
“There are phenomenal opportunities out there if you decide to leave this area.”
The proudest person in the room was his sister, Ivette Mojica, who sat in the back beaming throughout the presentation. Ivette, a 1986 graduate of Chelsea High, understood what a great inspiration her older brother is to Chelsea youths and how gracious and helpful he was to the students. She witnessed first hand how much they enjoyed his presentation and how they enveloped her brother’s majestic presence after his remarks.
Just maybe there was a student in that room who will one day follow the path that Carlos Mojica took – from Chelsea High School to the Federal Bureau of Investigation and to what the guest of honor himself said, “it has been a great life” as an FBI agent.