By Iliana Sanchez-Meraz
Anthony Hernandez is a 2008 Chicago region Hispanic Heritage Youth award recipient in Leadership. After receiving the award, Anthony continued to pursue his passion for service at Harvard University. He graduated in 2012 with a bachelor’s degree in government and political science.
Upon entering school, Anthony was interested in politics and public service, which led him to take an internship position at his congressional representative’s office in Washington DC. However, by his sophomore year, Anthony realized that his passion was in education. He took a course in the politics of American education and another discussing the history of charter schools. These courses heightened his interests, and he soon realized that education was something to which he could devote himself. Anthony then became active in working towards education policy and spearheaded a group at Harvard called Students for Education Reform. By his senior year, Anthony realized that the best way to gain an understanding of education in our country is by teaching.
After graduating from Harvard, Anthony applied and was accepted to the Capital Teaching Residency, a highly selective teacher training program based in Washington, DC. Anthony strongly believes that early childhood education is especially important. Therefore, he decided to focus his attention on teaching at the elementary level. He was placed in a first grade class for the 2012-2013 school year. The following year, he was placed in a second grade class and taught it as the lead teacher. Since then, Anthony has returned to Minnesota, his home state, and teaches a third grade class in a local charter school this school year.
The experience and education Anthony received at Harvard molded him into a confident and positive role model for future pupils. His strong convictions about the state of our education system led him to fully immerse himself in making a difference and taking action. Despite experiencing pressure and criticism for his decision to teach, Anthony whole-heartedly believes in his abilities and is confident in what he plans to do in the education field. He accredits education for giving his family the opportunity for mobility. His maternal grandfather was able to go to college through the GI Bill, and his father was the first in his own family to attend college. Anthony states that education is the “best creator of upward mobility” and is fundamental in further developing the prosperity of our country.
Anthony encourages all future young leaders to seek out experiences outside of their comfort zones. Whether through studying abroad programs, joining a diverse array of clubs, or exploring majors not previously taken into consideration, Anthony believes that these experiences will allow for self-reflection and personal growth.