Raised by an American mother and a Cuban immigrant father, Cruz was taught to love the United States and revere the Constitution. From an early age, he learned important lessons from both of his parents, including discipline and hard work. His father — Rafael Cruz — fought in the Cuban revolution, and was imprisoned and tortured. After fleeing to Texas in 1957, penniless and not speaking a word of English, Rafael washed dishes for 50 cents an hour to pay his way through the University of Texas.
When Ted was eight years old, he went to a summer camp and accepted Christ in his life. Early on, it became apparent that Ted was more than average. He was brilliant — and destined for something big.
When he was 15, Ted Cruz was one of five Houston kids selected by the Free Enterprise Institute to tour the country and speak about the Constitution. Prior to graduating high school, Ted had delivered 80 speeches on such topics as economics, the Austrian economist von Mises, and the importance and meaning of the Constitution.
Ted’s decision to attend an Ivy League school was not received well by his parents. They were struggling financially. To make his dream a reality, it would mean scholarships, students loans and working two jobs. Additionally, his father was concern the liberal environment would tarnish his son’s beliefs.
“Ted, you’re growing into a good, strong man,” Cruz’s father said to him. “Are you going to be strong enough to go to an Ivy League school and hold on to your principles and values?”
Ted assured him he could and was accepted into Princeton University. He later attended Harvard Law School.