Ever since he was a little kid, Erick wanted to be a teacher. Back in his native El Salvador, when he was in high school, he volunteered teaching elderly adults how to read and write in Spanish. Erick is a graduate of the inaugural class of the Carlos Rosario School Bilingual Paraeducator program. Recently, he was hired as a Bilingual Paraeducator at LaSalle Backus Education Campus. He is beginning to fulfill his childhood dream.

“My passion in life is teaching. I love teaching. When I am teaching, I forget everything around me. Thinking about teaching removes all the stress from me,” he said. It is this passion for education that Erick wants to bring to the LaSalle Backus Education Campus. He knows being a paraeducator requires a lot of patience, but he has the motivation and determination.

Erick says he is ready for this position thanks to the training he received at the Carlos Rosario School. He is grateful for the support he received from his teacher and program coordinator Jennifer Dalzell. “From her I learned how to be successful for this program, which offers is a great opportunity for those who are interested in the field of education like me,” Erick said.

Through this program, Erick earned a seal of biliteracy, a recognition given by the school for proficiency in reading, writing, listening and speaking in English and another language. He also gained hands-on experience in the classroom through the program’s apprenticeship component.

“This program gave me the opportunity to observe, and to even practice what I learned in class,” he said. Erick worked with his mentor, ESL 2 teacher Lisa Walker. He had opportunities to lead whole class activities, work with students individually and learn about class management.

In December of 2014, Erick moved to the United States. He had just finished high school and left El Salvador with his mother and little sister. “When I just came here, I barely went out because I did not want people to talk to me in English. I was not able to answer them in English,” Erick said. In 2015, when he joined the Carlos Rosario School, Erick started working at one of the District of Columbia’s largest seafood wholesalers, at the same time. Erick persevered despite having to manage both work and school schedules.

In January 2018, Erick began college at the University of the District of Columbia (UDC), majoring in Education with financial support from the Carlos Rosario School’s scholarship program. “All this could not be possible without the support of the Carlos Rosario School. This school is helping me to realize my lifelong dream of becoming a teacher,” he said.

Beyond financial assistance, Erick also found encouragement and advice from staff at the school. His ESL 8 teacher, Andrew Hinshaw, encouraged him to start college and connected him to the School’s Student Transition Services Manager, Selvon Waldron. Together, they mapped out his education and career plan.

“I will be always grateful for all the support I got from each of them and the school,” Erick said. As a goal, Erick hopes to one day be a teacher at the Carlos Rosario School. He wants to give back to the community by helping people to succeed. “The Carlos Rosario School has changed my life,” Erick said.