Divine intervention changed Fred's life forever. "I decided to go back to school. It took me 10 years to become a teacher, 5 years at community college, and another 5 years through the University of Northern Colorado, where I got a Bachelor's in Education, " he says proudly. The support from his loving wife and father played a key role in keeping him motivated, but it was an encounter with an educator at UNC that enabled him to complete his schooling. "I met this man named Dr. Lawrence Aragon, and he encouraged me to go to school, he told me that he would pay for my school! God opened the door for me through Dr. Aragon, and he provided all my tuition from my Bachelors to my Master's Degree, and I became a teacher, it's the best thing I ever did." Higher learning opened up new doors for Fred, and sparked a self-awareness and pride in his Chicano heritage on a level that he hadn't felt before. "I knew about Chicano history because I lived through it in the '60s and the '70s," he laughs. "I'm almost 50 years old, and the most I learned was when I went to college, and learned from Professor Roberto Cordova and Dr. Jose Suarez. Those two professors were my mentors, I saw them and thought, 'Wow! Two Chicano professors and they were doctors, not medical doctors, but Doctors of Education and Philosophies, and I said Where were you guys in my life? I needed you earlier!" he jokes. "They used to talk about the Zoot Suit Riots and the Pachucos and I knew about it, because my father was a Pachuco back in the '40s, and my brother and I were Cholos in the '80s, but when they taught me, I got to learn even more about it than what I already knew. " This eye-opening sense of self-awareness would not only help him through school, it would help to shape his mission as an educator. "Now that I am a teacher, I want to be that person for the kids I'm teaching. I want to get my PhD. I've learned about Chicano culture at school and in my own life experiences, and there's so much that I want to teach them, the challenge is coming up with ways to do it so they're interested," he explains. "I'm not a normal teacher, I am different. There are excellent teachers out there, but in my classroom I like my kids to be different. If a kid sings I want to bring that out. If a kid is a leader, encourage them and find ways to get them involved with student government. If a kid likes art, integrate that into their learning." « | 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7 | » | View Full Article By Mike Landers Enjoyed this Post? Subscribe to our RSS Feed, or use your favorite social media to recommend us to friends and colleagues!