I came to this country in 4th grade not knowing the language or anyone outside my immediate family. The neighborhood where we first came to was not the best. After about six months I was able to pick up the language due to an amazing teacher who not only promoted the learning of English but also the development a student’s ability to be critical thinker. Along with that, this teacher included a global view to education. I clearly remember our teacher bringing coffee table books to the classroom and allowing us to pick any object in them to recreate. This allowed me to see the world in a different way, to imagine beyond my situation. Through this teacher I recreated African mask, Aztec sacrificial knives and many other things. That first teacher made me feel a welcome member of my school community when I needed it and because of him and many other teachers that came along I was able to dream about going to college, to travel further than anyone else in my family, to live in foreign countries, in short I became a global citizen.
Years later, when I was beyond college I returned to my old neighborhood to discover what had happened to friends who weren’t as lucky as me. I saw that with out great teachers to educate them, to open their eyes to the world, they had become what most kids in that neighborhood end up in, incarcerated. Knowing that a great education allowed me to become the global citizen I am today, has cemented the importance of education in the development of innovating global citizens.