For LaGrange graduate Lorena Armendáriz, teaching is a calling.
Originally from Mexico, she teaches Spanish at LaGrange Academy, a private K-12 school.
“Giving back is the natural thing to do,” she says. “You receive, so of course, you give back.
“Teaching Spanish is a way that I can help the greater community.”
She’s passionate about helping young people learn.
“It is a magical moment when students discover knowledge. I love it when they say, ‘I’m really good at this—I can make it!’”
And, she believes her job is more than doling out assignments, checking homework and administering final exams.
“I’m helping them to have an open mind. The activities that we do in the classroom are helping them to understand another culture.
“When I hear them say, ‘I don’t judge others so easily,’ then I’ve done my job,” she says.
“I want to change the lives of my students by giving them more, teaching them more and encouraging them to have more compassion for others.”
She says that is how she experienced the master’s program at LaGrange.
“I enjoyed it so much. I had been in other schools in California and in Texas, but coming to the college offered me a sense of community that I hadn’t felt before.
“It prepared me well. I received not only curriculum instruction, but I also gained skills that I could immediately use in my classroom.
“My education at LaGrange was comprehensive, it was the total package. The professors taught me new ways to approach problems, and I’m grateful for that.”
How does Lorena hope to challenge and inspire her students?
“I tell them, ‘Everybody can see what’s wrong, but it takes a positive person to see what’s right!’
“I want them to not only recognize a problem, but also to think, ‘How can I help to solve the problem?’
“That’s why the college is so important to this community. Earning a degree there is more than getting an education; it’s about finding ways to give back.
“I’m not teaching for a paycheck. I feel that I am making a contribution to my community and my students.”