Sylvia Garza of Texas City, Texas, had always dreamed of becoming a teacher. As a child in the barrios of San Felipe in Del Rio, Texas, she always chose the role of teacher when she and her friends played the game “escuelita.” The product of a segregated public school system, Garza went on to graduate from Southwest Texas State University. She began her career in 1976 as a Spanish teacher at Blocker Middle School in the Texas City Independent School District.
Since 1994, Garza has been the Chairperson of the Foreign Language Department at Texas City High School. She says her goal is to change the perception of Latinos and help people understand their significant contributions. Garza also believes that it is important for Latinos to focus on education as the key to success. She adds, “It is important that young Latinos be exposed to positive role models and, through this exposure, hopefully be encouraged to pursue a college education. It is through higher education that our next generations of Latinos are prepared to become political leaders, scientists, artists, and entrepreneurs.”