Vroman’s Bookstore Teacher of the Year for the 2017-2018 school year is
Daniel Alamo of Huntington Park High School!
We were so pleased to receive the overwhelming amount of nominations this year for incredible teachers all over Pasadena and the surrounding areas.
It was hard to choose a winner but in the end, the winning essay came from student Erin Contreras:
I never thought about history as having a particular perspective until I met a special teacher who encouraged me and my fellow students to think differently. Mr. Alamo made us ask ourselves whose history was being told in the approved textbooks. Whose history counts? And whose doesn’t? When I took AP European History and then Honors World History with Mr. Alamo, I discovered that history wasn’t just about looking back into the past and memorizing the established “facts.” Mr. Alamo stressed that there were always multiple sides to every story. In fact, we never even used the recommended textbook World History: Modern Times because he absolutely refused to give us only one perspective, the victor’s. Instead of using a textbook that he couldn’t endorse, Mr. Alamo taught us by using his own PowerPoint slides and lecture materials. Furthermore, Mr. Alamo did not simply force us to think a certain way, but he used our class discussions to help us challenge one another to be open-minded to alternative perspectives. As a result of studying with Mr. Alamo, I became a more critical thinker and began thinking about history as a collection of perspectives and narratives rather than fixed, one-sided facts. Under Mr. Alamo’s influence, I began to question the history I had passively accepted before, even challenging the practice of celebrating Christopher Columbus Day. Knowing that Christopher Columbus, a historical figure we had been taught to admire by our elementary and middle school curriculum, was actually a corrupt person who had approved the torture and genocide of indigenous people, I began to question how the history I had learned before had been a particular history. This was a history told by those with the political and institutional power to make their particular perspectives accepted. Because of the training in critical thinking I received in Mr. Alamo’s history classes, I feel confident that I am more than capable of earning my bachelor’s degree (and higher) in history. Moreover, I have developed a passion for working to uncover various minority perspectives that have been erased and suppressed. I know this will be very challenging since I will be the first in my household to attend college. However, through Mr. Alamo’s continuous encouragement and his example of advocating for social justice through public education, I am inspired to pursue my own dream of becoming a history teacher and teaching my future students that everyone’s history counts. In conclusion, Dr. Daniel Alamo – he earned his doctorate when I was a sophomore – should receive Vroman’s Teacher of the Year Award because of his life-changing impact on his students. He is truly a teacher who is the very change that he wants to see in the world, and he helps to create that change through his superior dedication to the truth and to his students. Because of his work as an educator, I believe in empowerment through public education and the importance of students taking the initiative to advocate for liberating change.
The Prize: The Vroman’s Bookstore 2017-2018 Teacher of the Year was awarded a $500 gift card and a commemorative plaque! A $500 gift card was donated to the Teacher of the Year’s school and a $100 gift card was given to the person who submitted the nomination.
Keep a look out for the next call for nominations in March 2019!