When Miriam Reyes Juarez says William B. Travis Early College High School feels like home, she means it.
“I kind of never left this place,” said Reyes Juarez, who was a drum major her senior year and ranked third in her class when she graduated in 2012. After leaving Travis High, Reyes Juarez attended the University of Texas in Austin, where she earned a degree in biology and received a teaching certificate.
She said that it was at Travis High School, however, where she discovered her passion for engineering and where she met lifelong mentors.
Band director David Contreras, computer class teacher, Walter Lenoir, and advanced placement chemistry and robotics teacher, Jack Jones, continue to be among her mentors. From them, she said she learned more than the basics of music, science and technology.
“They showed me how to be responsible and encouraged me to go to college,” she said.
The encouragement she received from her teachers to attend a university helped reinforce her parents’ emphasis to get a college education despite the challenges she would face as a then-Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program recipient.
Reyes Juarez, who is now a legal resident, was brought to the United States by her parents from Mexico when she was just 1 year old.
“Even after I graduated from high school, I would go back and still talk to some of my teachers and ask them for advice or to let them know how I was doing in college,” said Reyes Juarez.
When she was required to a take on a student teaching position, she asked to be placed at Travis High for three reasons: it was close to her home, she was already familiar with the science teachers on a professional level because of her UTeach internship and she liked being in familiar places.
When an engineering teaching position became available at the school, she said it seemed only natural to apply.
Today, as a second-year teacher, Reyes Juarez continues to look to former teachers for advice and said she hopes to be a source of inspiration to her students just as her Travis High teachers were to her.