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Obstacle Can Become An Opportunity

Guadalupe MezaGuadalupe Meza is being honored as a Champion of Change for her service to education. 

I am truly honored, privileged and blessed to be named a White House Champion of Change. This recognition is not only for me but for all my colleagues that dedicate their life, enthusiasm and energy to give the best to our students. Additionally this is dedicated to ALL the students that I have taught from 2006 to the present. It is unbelievable to think that I have impacted students’ lives in a way that even after they graduated they came to visit me or have some type of communication. I don’t only work with my students but with the school as a whole, district and community. I never imagined I would get this type of recognition by doing what I love - teaching and helping those in need. 

I began my perpetual pursuit of knowledge seven years ago. I always knew I wanted to be a teacher, not just a teacher, but someone who can make a difference in a student’s life. I had to be realistic and I am very down to earth, so I realized that I cannot change everybody, but I can give my students the tools to succeed. They decide if they want to take them or not. I am goal oriented, motivated, passionate, caring, committed and diligent. I am a truly believer that any obstacle can become an opportunity.

I am part of several extracurricular activities. I am a co-sponsor of South Mountain High School’s M.E.Ch.A. (Movimiento Estudiantil Chicanos de Aztlan) and L.U.L.A.C. (League of United Latin American Citizens) clubs. I am also co-advisor of the Spanish Honor Society.  As the sponsor of these clubs, I can give South Mountain High School students the opportunity to participate in the Dia de los Muertos Competition and attend the annual Cesar E. Chavez assembly. Moreover, I  collaborate with S.B.A.T.S. 11, the high school from Phoenix’s sister city in Hermosillo, Sonora, in Mexico and the International Magnet Program at my alma mater, Central High, to bring La Rondalla to the South Mountain Community every January. 

As one of my colleagues said, I have a strong rapport with the school administration and our broader community. I proudly marched along with South students and their families when they gathered to right a wrong and make their voices heard against a state law that they did not support. I help my students find scholarships especially those that cannot ask for financial aid. I like to serve my school and community well. Another one of my interest is helping students at risk; for this reason I took a local campus passion, handball, and elevated it from an activity to engage in while ditching class, to an organized, sponsored team who practice afterschool. These new Jaguar athletes compete against other teams in Phoenix, Tucson and the other parts of the southwest. Some would have dropped out of high school, but instead come to school so they can be on the handball team. I think everybody deserves an opportunity and having someone who believes in these students or just giving a little push is enough so they can fly high and achieve more than they imagined. Being a teacher is the best choice I ever made, I am a millionaire with all the knowledge I have acquired throughout the years and I am very thankful for all the students that have contributed to my career.  

Guadalupe Meza is a Spanish Educator at South Mountain High School in Phoenix, Arizona