Going where her heart leads her

February 25, 2020

Special Education teacher Dalia Gamez was part of the Dance Team and Latino Student Union when she was a Los Altos student. She even participated in the school wide poetry slam after Assistant Principal Galen Rosenberg, her English teacher at the time, encouraged her to do so.

Even though it may seem Gamez thrived during her time at Los Altos, she vividly remembers the struggle of being a first-generation student and lacking knowledge about the college applications process. Gamez joined the AVID program in her junior year.

“AVID really helped me with college applications, applying for financial aid and meeting deadlines,” she said. “My parents didn’t know the system so AVID provided support for me. I think it was a necessary class for first generation students because it’s really hard when you don’t have that help outside of school.”

Once she graduated, Gamez attended San Jose State University and Notre Dame de Namur University. Gamez always knew she wanted to be a teacher, so she returned to Los Altos, a place she considers her second home.

“This is where my heart is,” she said. ”I’ll always love Los Altos. So I knew that I would love working here too.”

Yet, working alongside many of her teachers she had as a student and addressing them as colleagues was slightly odd for Gamez.

“It was a bit awkward talking to my former teachers as my peers and calling them by their first names,” she said. “Now, I feel like they respect me as a teacher and no longer see me as a student. But just like when I was a student, I know that if I needed support on anything, they will be there to provide help.”

Now, as a teacher here, Gamez finds herself acting as that reliable adult who encourages her students, matter of fact any student, to strive for excellence.

“I try to know what is going on with students outside of their classroom life and support them in that balance,” Gamez said. “It is important to me that students feel like they belong whenever they step into my classroom, whether they are my students or simply just visiting me.”

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