Student Essay Contest

A Teacher of Miracles: An Interview with Mrs. Estella Perez

2013 AWM Essay Contest: Middle School Level Winner

By: Emmanuel Martinez, Lyford Middle School, Lyford, TX

My sixth grade math teacher is Mrs. Estella Perez. She is a wonderful woman and teacher; her students, she has told us many times, are like her own children.
Mrs. Perez comes from a family of extremely hard-working people. Her parents were born and raised in Mexico and due to their dismal financial situation, they were forced to drop out of school and enter the workforce at a very young age. Mrs. Perez was born and raised in Mexico, too. She entered school and even though it was very difficult for her to work and study at the same time, she proved to be an excellent student.
Mrs. Perez knew that in order to succeed she needed to try her best; luckily she had a teacher who oriented her. Her math teacher, Mr. Thompson, taught math at the school she attended. Mr. Thompson was an exemplary teacher and human being. He possessed a great deal of patience, so if a student did not understand a math problem he would explain it numerous times, step-by-step. Everyone loved him and looked up to him because he encouraged them to be the best they could be. It was then that Mrs. Perez received her calling.
Her goal when she immigrated to the United States was to become a math teacher and follow in Mr. Thompson’s steps. She started high school here in the Rio Grande Valley and soon entered the University of Texas Pan-American. She received her bachelor’s degree in Interdisciplinary Studies and began teaching at my alma mater, Lyford Middle School. Her sole purpose was to instill in her students a love for math. She wanted them to have fun in math class, and not dread it.
For more than twenty years Mrs. Perez has taught kids like me to love math. From sixth graders to eighth graders, she has always motivated her students to follow their dreams. Her message to students interested in the math field is that they can achieve anything they want to: she says, “Math is fun, and it should be. If you like it, it is important for you to get involved in it now and become more exposed to it. You need to remember that you get to choose what your future is going to be like. There is only one person who can decide your future and that is you.”
Mrs. Perez is a woman of Mathematics. From her job, to her family, to her hobbies, she incorporates math into her life in a way that is fun. She has taught me that everything from baking, to solving a Sudoku, to the technology needed for the iPad has fundamentals based in math. She is my role model. Thanks to her, I have learned to love math. She motivates my classmates and me to always do our best and try our hardest. Not only is she a great math teacher, but also a great person. Gone is the image I had of the evil, old, sixth grade math teacher that the older kids would try to scare us with in fifth grade. Instead, there is Mrs. Perez with her kind eyes and wise words. She has taught me more than how to divide fractions, because now I know that the word “miracle” is just a synonym for “hard-work,” and Mrs. Perez is the living proof that miracles and dreams do come true.
About the Student:
My name is Emmanuel Martinez and I am twelve years old. I live in Lyford, Texas and attend school at Lyford Middle School. Since I was in Kindergarten my favorite subject has always been math. I participate in UIL (University Interscholastic League) Mathematics and Number Sense. Math is awesome! Everything in the world needs math, from our stoves to our computers; it’s a perfect balance of equations. When I grow up, I want to be able to attend the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and earn a Master’s Degree in Mechanical Engineering.