For a small group of teachers in Mission Consolidated Independent School District, their very first day of work may have given them a sense of déjà vu because while they are walking the hallways as teachers now, they once walked the same hallways as students.
More than 40 teachers responded to an email earlier this school year indicating they are now teaching at a school they once attended as a student. The responses to the email are a testament to the heart and commitment of all Mission CISD educators. The responses are also more than we should include in one story and so the decision was made to create more than one story — of their stories. We will begin with the Mission CISD high schools.
Mission High School (MHS) is the district’s oldest, and understandably, had the most teachers respond that they once roamed the MHS halls as students. Thirteen teachers responded to the district email.
Five-year teacher, Melissa Guerra said, “I am proud to say that I graduated from MHS, Class of 1996. When I first walked the halls of the campus again, a feeling of joy and pride overcame me.
“My former teachers are now my colleagues, which was strange at first, but they have all been so supportive and helpful to my success as a teacher here.”
Aaron Clemons responded, “As a matter of fact, I teach in one of the same rooms I had a class in. I tell my students that I enjoyed my high school years at MHS so much I came back here to teach.” Clemons also said it is an honor for him to teach and coach at his alma mater where he has so many fond memories. He also said he met and started dating his wife at MHS and that now they have a daughter in school there.
For Maria Pinon, she knew that she wanted to give back to the community that helped her and did not want to teach anywhere else. Pinon said she hopes she is impacting student’s lives in the same manner hers was touched when she was a student at MHS.
Mindy DeLaRosa said Gus Zapata was the principal of MHS when she was a student. She graduated in 1984 and returned to MHS as a teacher in 1995. DeLaRosa said Zapata was still the principal at that time. She also said she was proud to be called an Eagle as a student and also now, as a teacher.
Biology teacher, Jose Rodriguez said a lot has changed at MHS since he walked the halls as a student with one exception: “The true spirit of all teachers who motivate, inspire, and change the lives of those who walk these halls will always live on,” he said.
Others from MHS who indicated a great deal of pride and honor involved in returning to their alma mater to teach include: Norma Lee Garza, Ana Estrada, Nelda Iglesias, Guillermo Gonzalez, Josie Flores, Gloria Gonzalez and JoAnn Kopecki Newton.
Veterans Memorial High School played a unique role in the lives of several current teachers. They actually attended the school for only one year. At that time, VMHS was the Ninth Grade Campus.
Alyssa Ramirez said she is now teaching with many individuals who were once her high school teachers. “It has been an amazing experience working with people I know and feel very comfortable with,” she said. “With their support and guidance I have been successful at what I do. I feel very privileged to have been given the opportunity to work at a place where I feel right at home.”
Judi Garcia also said it was a great opportunity for her to work with former teachers. She also said, “This means so much to me, being able to return back to this campus.”
While officially, an MHS graduate, Francisco Vela also once sat in the desks of VMHS when it was only for freshmen.
VMHS transitioned into a high school in the fall of 2002.
Superintendent Cornelio Gonzalez said he is impressed with the dedication of the teachers in Mission CISD. After reading some of the responses sent in by those now teaching at their alma mater, he said, “This is also a testament to all those who have lead our classrooms in years past. To have so many current teachers indicate they want to give back to their community in this way, due to the example set by their past experiences in our classrooms, speaks volumes about the quality of instructors this district has always strived to hire.”
In the near future, we will explore the thoughts of teachers who are now leading classes in classrooms they once occupied as junior high or elementary students.
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The Progress Times is the hometown newspaper for the local communities of Mission, Sharyland, Alton, Palmview, La Joya and surrounding areas in Western Hidalgo County. We have a staff of veteran reporters who work diligently every week to bring our readers the latest news as it affects their hometown area and people.