R.C. Rodríguez, Northside ISD Director of Bilingual and English as a Second Language was recently honored with the distinguished 2012 Stéén Award. Stéén, which is a mixteca word meaning educating, was presented by Dr. José Ángel Córdova Villalobos, Mexico's Secretary of Public Education (SEP), Francisco Ciscomani Freaner, Assistant Secretary of Public Education for Puebla, and C. Cándido Morales Rosas, Director for the Institute of Mexicans residing in the Exterior, during a convocation held last month, at the Ministry of Public Education of Mexico in Mexico City.
In his acceptance speech, Rodríguez explained how this award is an impetus for persons like him who are directly engaged with students every day, and inspired the recipients to engage in continued collaboration to research improved approaches for helping immigrant children adapt to their new culture, language, and country. The agenda included the opportunity to tour a public school in Puebla, work sessions with representatives of the state agency of Basic Education without Borders (EBSF), and the presentation of the documentary, Learning Here and There (Aprendiendo aquí y allá) by Eugenio Polgovsky, which focuses on the educational issues faced by immigrant students both in the U.S. and Mexico.
Through nominations from Mexican Consulates across the United States and Canada, the Stéén is awarded annually by the Mexican government to acknowledge the work of educators, civil servants, or community leaders who have made measurable strides in promoting access to high quality educational opportunities for Mexican immigrant students.
"It is the highest honor I have received in my 40 years of serving the immigrant students of Mexico and their families" says Rodriguez. "They are individuals I love, and have a passion for providing the best educational opportunities the US has to offer them. I owe this passion to my first teachers, my grandparents, my parents, and my family."
He adds, "As Americans we must live in gratitude that our students have the greatest education, and greatest teachers, of any nation in the world. Any teacher knowing two languages brings a valuable resource to any student."
"It is the students, their families, and all bilingual educators in Northside ISD that are my inspiration to seek the best education for the immigrant students belonging to nations across the world," Rodriguez says. "I would like to sincerely express my gratitude to Armando Ortiz Rocha, the General Consul of Mexico, of the San Antonio Mexican Consulate for the nomination and the recognition from the Mexican government."
Press Release submitted by: Secretaría de Relaciones Exteriores Instituto de los Mexicanos in el Exterior and Secretaría de Educación Pública