Future teachers Daniel García-Román, Angela Fuentes, and Lizeth Rosas.

Daisy Garcia-Montoya
Education Reporter

Teachers, families, and local leaders gathered on Thursday, August 31, to attend the first Futuro Maestros pin ceremony presented by the Latinx Education Collaborative (LEC).

The celebration, organized by LEC, an organization that focuses on maintaining and increasing the representation of Latinx education professionals in grades K-12, was held at the Kansas City Public Library, located at 14 W 10th Street.

Attendees were able to enjoy food and snacks before the start of the program where the first cohort of Latino teachers, made up of six new teachers, would be recognized. Honorees included Angela Fuentes, Daniel Garcia-Roman, Lizeth Rosas, Karine Neira, Tanya Martinez, and Dianna Izaura.

Edgar Palacios, founder and CEO of the organization, addressed the attendees and spoke about the history of the organization and what it has focused on in the last five years since its creation.

“This is a moment that started five years ago, so to see the team that built it, the educators that are here, and to see the commitment they have to the profession, is such a powerful thing to see,” Palacios said. “A few years ago, we published a report where we found that only 1% of educators in the Kansas City metropolitan area were Latino, that’s approximately 261 teachers, and we knew we had to do something because our Latino student demographic is growing rapidly. We see it every day in our schools and communities and we have to do something about representation.”

The event had Anatasia Delgado, LEC Educator of the Year 2022, as the main speaker. In her testimony, Delgado spoke about her educational path, her decision to become a teacher and how her students have taught her how important it is to improve education for Latino students.

“Never forget the why of her. I know it sounds corny but at the end of the day, our kids deserve teachers who look like us. Our children deserve you and you deserve them,” Delgado said. “I wish you the best and all the success in your first year as a teacher and all the years to come, congratulations.”

Dr. Uzziel Pecina, Director of Administration, followed the schedule and introduced the six new teachers, all with secured teaching positions in the greater Kansas City area at schools in the Kansas City Public Schools district and Guadalupe Centers Schools.

One by one they were named and introduced, with a pre-recorded video where each of the teachers spoke more about their journey through their studies and careers and their future goals as educators. Walking up the stage, honorees select one of their loved ones to put on the commemorative pin.

Daniel Garcia-Roman, part of the cohort, said it was the phrases he heard from his teachers over the years that inspired him to decide to become a teacher.

“Today I feel a lot of love and I want to make sure that I give that back to the world and I plan on implanting this in my future students as well,” Garcia-Roman said.

Another honoree, Angela Fuentes spoke about how important her representation in schools was to her.

“It’s important to see people who look like you, talk like you, have been raised like you, are educators. It is important to see representation in all professions but in particular in education. It makes us see that it is an option as a career and that it is highly valued,” Fuentes said. “I am very excited to meet my students and learn and grow with them.”

At the end of the program, the honorees and attendees had the opportunity to follow the celebration in social time with music provided by DJ Monse and take photos with the 360 photo booth.