Family of 4 in hallway
Julio Garcia (second from left) with his wife and parents at Teach For America's 25th Anniversary celebration in Washington, D.C.

Why We Couldn't Be Prouder That Our Son Decided to Teach

As Teacher Appreciation Week winds down, the parents of Julio Garcia (RGV '13) share why they're thankful for the impact teachers have had on their son—as well as Julio's choice to enter the classroom himself.
Thursday, May 11, 2017

Maribel and Julian Garcia witnessed firsthand the impact that educators could have on their son Julio’s life.

Due to the necessity of taking a job near Louisville, Kentucky—over a thousand miles away from their home in Roma, Texas—to provide for his family, Julian would spend long stretches away from Julio. However, thanks to educators like his eighth grade U.S. History teacher Stephen de Man (Rio Grande Valley ’04), Julio not only thrived in school, he became the first person in his family to graduate from a four-year college.

“I was working a lot, so I appreciate his teachers helping him get through school and helping him do his best,” Julian says of his son’s road to and through Ohio State University.

Maribel, a nurse’s aide at the elementary school that Julio and his brothers attended, was also a staunch advocate of excelling in the classroom. However, even she would admit that her son would need an extra helping hand to realize his goals after high school.

“I am so grateful for all his teachers,” Maribel says. “I have a big family so we always support each other, but it’s one thing when you have all these teachers helping him with things we didn’t know about, like financial aid and applying for college.”

In addition to the administrative support, Mr. de Man was Julio’s role model in the classroom.

“All he would talk about as a kid was 'Mr. de Man this, Mr. de Man that,' ” Maribel recalls. “He was always there for Julio.”

Today, Julio has returned to Roma as a 2013 Teach For America corps member, where he teaches—what else? Eighth grade U.S. History.

While his parents are relishing having their son back at home, they have been able to observe the effect he can have on a national level. Last year, they accompanied Julio to Washington, D.C., where he spoke to a capacity crowd at Teach For America’s 25th Anniversary Summit. They stood behind their son, taking in the moment alongside three of Julio’s former teachers who are TFA alumni, including Mr. de Man.

“It was a wonderful experience traveling to Washington and seeing him with his old teachers,” Julian says. “He’s very happy now, and we’re happy for him that he’s working hard doing what he likes to do.”

Maribel, for her part, is ecstatic about her son’s career choice.

“It feels so good to see other teachers and parents telling me how wonderful of a teacher Julio is and how grateful they are that he’s back in the community,” she shares. “To see him lead kids to reach their goals just like the other teachers did for him when he was a boy is a great feeling…As a mother, I’m so proud that he decided to become a teacher.”

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