A former paralegal turned teacher was recently named Teacher of the year by the Minority Chamber of Commerce
By Rodolfo Roman
Special to the Herald
Even while working as a paralegal, Juan D’Arce, would volunteer at local schools reading and helping children with homework.
That’s when he knew his heart was in teaching. Five years ago, he entered the classroom permanently as a teacher.
D’Arce, now 40 and a teacher at West Miami Middle School, was recently honored as Teacher of The Year by the Minority Chamber of Commerce.
“The foundation for tomorrow is based on how competitive you’re today,” D’Arce said.
Principal Colleen Del Terzo said she is proud of D’Arce’s acknowledgment.
“We are very proud of all accomplishments that our teachers achieve,” she said. “The success of one is shared by all and, as a whole, the status of our school and its programs are enhanced.”
Chamber president Doug Mayorga said D’Arce’s hard work leaves an impact on his students, which is valuable to their future.
“He was selected because of his dedication to educating minority students in Miami-Dade County,” he said. ”He has an emphasis on the importance of education, professional interests, business relations, community involvement and teaching philosophy.”
D’Arce, who lost a Republican primary for the State Representative District 112 race in 2010, has taught in Miami-Dade schools for five years. The Nicaragua-born educator teaches social studies, civics and American history at West Miami Middle School, where he has worked for a year. He teaches 120 students daily. In the past, he has also taught high school students.
“I think about the diversity and the things I’ve seen,” D’Arce said. “I try to always bring attention of the reality of the world and how competitiveness it is.”
The Florida International University graduate was given a plaque in December at the Howard Johnson Hotel Hialeah Garden for the chambers minority gala award event. Chamber members select winners. Those honored are awarded for showcasing leadership and emphasizing in education.
“The success of each of my students is through my success,” said D’Arce, who lives in Westchester and takes part in charity work throughout the year – and encourages his students to so as well. “My failure is their failure.”
D’Arce is also involved with school sports. He has a second job coaching the Coral Park girls basketball team. He also coaches co-ed basketball teams at Morgan Levy Park in Doral as a volunteer.
D’Arce said his students have a teacher for life.
“If I am able to facilitate it for them I am always happy to help them,” he said.
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