Antero Garcia (AG) and Roger Alvarez (RA)
AG: When did you know you weren’t going to graduate? Like for sure?
RA: For sure?
RA: Ever since I started 9th grade. (Laughs)
AG: Oh really.
RA: There’s a certain amount of knowledge you have to have when you enter in a specific grade. And I didn’t have it. Every class I used to go in I was like, Do I know this? I don’t know this. Nah, I’m not going to pass this class.
RA: And um, it was, it was kind of shameful. You know. I don’t know.
AG: What was shameful?
RA: You know, like, you were determined to help me, but what was I willing to give? I could have actually tried.
AG: I guess I’m curious how I could have reached out to you better.
RA: Well, you always helped me. But I mean you could pump me up, and then I see other students doing way better. So then, I get nervous. I get stuck. And then my motivation goes to the floor.
AG: Did it feel hopeless?
RA: Yeah. You talked to me like if I could do it. But inside me I knew I couldn’t. And you know, I just don’t want you to think that I’m like, stupid.
AG: Why did you agree to come talk to me today?
RA: I don’t know. It’s . . . I mean I see school as a tool in life. And all this time I’ve been missing that tool. It’s not part of my belt. But I wanted like to explain myself to you now that I’m older. And always I just wanted you to know you were a good teacher and I always respected you. Some teachers I kind of felt like they only wanted to teach a certain group of people. But you looked at me and you paid attention. Maybe it didn’t get me to graduate, but there’s a lot of teachers, they don’t take the time to take a look. And it was never your fault.