Columnist: Engagement in education matters |

Columnist: Engagement in education matters

Eloisa Duarte
Staff Photo |


Leer este artículo en español:

My introduction to the idea of being engaged in education in this country came in Danny Stone’s fifth-grade classroom at Carbondale Middle School. My son Mario was new to the United States and barely understood English when Stone inspired him to fall in love with the process of learning a new culture and a different language.

Stone used his natural ability to connect with parents and students, challenging us to be truly included in his intelligence headquarters (the classroom), and making us feel important in this new adventure.

That was how in the blink of an eye, my son, who was drowning in an unknown ocean, began to swim like a fish in safe waters where his chances of growing took on a better color, making a fundamental difference in his life. And this is what makes a true educator: That person inspires and transforms lives.

A few weeks ago I had the honor of interacting with about 60 teachers who joined the Roaring Fork School District this school year. It only took me a few minutes to spot in their eyes the passion of the warrior who looks anxiously at the battle that is leading him to conquer fertile territories. This is where the teaching-learning process emerges, ensuring a better future for all.

I will be using this monthly column to share with you interesting topics, things that can be simple but significant in our community, and in my humble view, have the power to trigger action and growth.

Participate in The Longevity Project

The Longevity Project is an annual campaign to help educate readers about what it takes to live a long, fulfilling life in our valley. This year Kevin shares his story of hope and celebration of life with his presentation Cracked, Not Broken as we explore the critical and relevant topic of mental health.

I decided to call the column “Ecosystems of Hope” because socially we are diverse, but everyone has an individual role to play in a defined environment, causing a positive or negative impact by the way we interact. Adding the word hope emphasizes that positive things happen in our interactions, creating the opportunity to grow better ecosystems of life.

Proof of a positive impact happened when Danny Stone, with all teachers and counselors who sowed hope in my son Mario, saw evidence of their harvest. At Festival las Americas last month, Mario was awarded Club Rotario’s Jackie Morales prize for his love and dedication to community service.

Thanks to the warrior educators in his life, my son thinks that it is possible to face adversity and he is working to achieve his desire to become what he admires most: A teacher with the mission to inspire future generations.

He is pursuing his studies in education at Colorado Mountain College, whose director is Barbara Johnson was awarded the Morales prize in the professional category and whose passion for education is contagious.

I understand that education It is an opportunity for new generations to come out victorious in the setbacks they faced in their winding road to college and life.

Schools are a powerful ecosystem where students, teachers, the community and parents can come together perfectly with an objective of growth and common good.

Some teachers do the opposite of Danny Stone — those who fail to connect, inspire and involve their students’ families, teachers who do not know how, cannot or do not want to find and polish the diamond that is in each student. In these cases, pupils can be left behind in the anonymity of mediocrity with no hope of a successful future.

Who are these teachers? Talk to students, they know them well. While some teachers lead intelligence headquarters with windows to the horizon, others work as wardens in cells of agony. And this is where principals, parents and community have the opportunity to act.

Despite adversity, education is like life that opens and bears fruit, and it is a mission where the nobility of the heart and engagement matter.

Eloisa Duarte has been a volunteer in many community projects. She has a degree in communications and a passion for education.

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