Rivera’s Reflections on Hispanic Heritage Month
Celebrations are moments to hug each other and to enjoy. Paradoxically, they’re also moments to look at ourselves and evaluate our journey. One of the Hispanic community’s favorite sons, and a friend of Al Día’s, Secretary of Education Pedro Rivera, spoke with us in light of the Hispanic Heritage Month.
Pedro Rivera, for those who don’t know him or might not remember him, has been the Pennsylvania Secretary of Education since 2015. Rivera was named by governor Tom Wolf, who recognized his successful path as Superintendent of The School District of Lancaster.
On the occasion of the celebration of Hispanic heritage, Rivera said that although each day we get closer to the target, he can’t wait for the day that academic success is measured with factors that impact learning, teaching and the emotional and social necessities of our children.
“As an educator, I measured (success) with tests, but what really moved me was knowing that we were teaching our children how to read, how to do math and realizing that we provided them with the resources to help the students have a healthy and happy life,” said Rivera.
Remembering what we are as Hispanics, Rivera said that having been raised by his mom and aunt, he learnt the value of hard work.
“They showed me firsthand, while taking care of a family and maintaining various jobs, what it meant to always put family first and to contribute to a major cause,” said Rivera.
Rivera said that what they taught him isn’t the only reason why he decided to become a teacher, it was also the values and attitudes that he took with him to the classroom, the school district and the community.
When Al Día asked him about Hispanics as a minority, he said that we can’t ignore that as a demographic group, we have positive and negative things, but that we must always remember that every day, each one of us is representing something bigger than ourselves.
“It can be the neighborhood, the country, a trip… who we are tells a story,” said Rivera.
He continues fighting and celebrates that finding the necessary resources for our young people to attend college and be able to graduate has become one of Governor Wolf’s priorities. He believes that investing in them now, will improve our community in the generations to come.