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First-Generation College Grad Returns to Teach in EMS
Published Thursday, June 17, 2021
Maritza Zaragoza has experienced several “firsts” in her life. As an EMS ISD alumna, she was a part of the first fifth-grade class to attend Parkview Elementary when it opened. Additionally, she is a member of the first freshman class to attend Chisholm Trail High School. This Class of 2016 CTHS graduate also is a first-generation college graduate.
Now, Zaragoza is the first alum to benefit from the district’s EMS2Teach program.
Beginning with the graduating class of May 2016, EMS ISD is offering a signing bonus to alumni who return to the district to begin or continue their teaching career through the program. Applicants must have attended a traditional university-based educator preparation program, maintained a GPA of 3.0 or higher, and be fully certified according to the State Board of Educator Certification (SBEC). Applicants who have previously taught at another district but meet requirements above are also welcomed to apply. Plus, graduates like Zaragoza who were a part of the Hollenstein Career and Technology Center’s Education and Training program are guaranteed an interview after college graduation. To learn more about the program, visit the Alumni Educators webpage.
Keep reading to learn more about Zaragoza, who will begin teaching a first-grade bilingual classroom at Gililland Elementary in the fall.
Tell me about yourself.
I am 23 years old. I graduated from Texas Wesleyan University with my bachelor's degree in bilingual education. I am the first person in my family to graduate from college. My favorite thing to do when I have free time is to watch movies and spend time with my two boys, 2 and 8, and my husband.
What was your experience like as a student in EMS ISD?
During my time in EMS, I had excellent experiences, but the best moments I experienced were in the third grade when I met my teacher Mrs. Ramirez. The first sentence she taught me in English was, "I am a good English speaker." She made me repeat it every time I worked in her small group. I didn't even know what it meant but repeating that "I am" statement changed my identity. I became a great English speaker. Here I am today, from being 8 years old with no English to having a degree in bilingual education. I realized that it only takes one good teacher to change a child's life. I want to be that teacher that supports and motivates students to achieve their highest potential.
When did you know you wanted to be a teacher?
From a very young age, I knew I wanted to be a teacher. I have always loved helping others and serving the community. After having Mrs. Ramirez, I knew I wanted to be just like her. When I found out that the HCTC offered courses for aspiring teachers, I was excited to join and begin my teacher training.
Tell me about your experience in the Education and Training program at the Hollenstein Career and Technology Center.
I had a very positive experience in the program. My favorite course was Practicum in Education and Training because I had the opportunity to complete a teaching internship at Parkview Elementary, where I worked with a fourth-grade mentor teacher. This experience gave me a much better understanding of what it's like working in the classroom, and it helped me realize teaching was what I wanted to do. Another great aspect of this program was making connections and meeting new people who later supported me in my career.
You can teach anywhere. Why did you choose to return to EMS to teach?
I am a very family-oriented person. I have always tried to stay close to home. Therefore, I knew I wanted to work somewhere close to home. My teachers from EMS had a significant impact on me, and now it's my turn to serve my community and make the same positive impact on my students.