Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Student Spotlight: Héctor Barajas

by Ann Abbott

I realize that there is still some debate about whether or not professors should be Facebook friends with students. There is even a Facebook Group called "Faculty Ethics on Facebook."

I enjoy being friends with my former students (and some current students--why not?) on Facebook. I get to see a more complete picture of who they are, what they do, what they like, and I like that. I don't pretend to use Facebook for any pedagogical reasons; I just like getting to know people. Even before Facebook, I knew that my students were "whole people" with whom I had the privilege to interact just a few hours a week.

And it is through Facebook that I have been able to stay in contact with Héctor Barajas. Héctor was in my "Spanish & Entrepreneurship" course during the spring of 2008, and he worked as a tutor for the ESL students at Central High School. I remember very well the team project he worked on and the great presentation they gave at the end of the semester.

So, I was happy to learn about Héctor's success after graduation. He works with Walgreens, and continues to use his Spanish. I also love that he displays a sense of service and personal engagement with the Latino community, something that most of my students in "Spanish in the Community" and "Spanish & Entrepreneurship" feel very strongly.

Here are Héctor's own words:

"I got transferred to a different Walgreens with a much, much larger Hispanic population, which I love. It's really gratifying to help these people that have the language as a barrier. I think the thing that I remember is that my parents had to go through the same stuff and they've told me numerous times how hard it was for them. And it's still hard for them because their English isn't that great at all. So in my mind, I see it as paying homage to the struggles that my parents had. Maybe I should look into some sort of social services for this Hispanic community? ...We'll have to see, lol."

It's great to see one more example of how our students continue to use Spanish after they graduate. I also think that it is a great example of how you can integrate Spanish and service into what you're already doing; you don't necessarily have to "make time" to volunteer two hours each week.
Good luck, Héctor, with all you do! You're a great role model for other students.

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