New teacher embraces diversity

Megan Palinkas, Staff writer

Ever since she was a young girl, Aracelys Rios knew she was going to become a teacher one day. Helping out her six other siblings with homework and her passion for school helped her decide she was going to teach.

Dr. Rios, though, wasn’t sure what subject she would teach until she reached high school.

Then, she began her college career at the University of Puerto Rico, which is where she is from, and there she earned her Bachelor’s degree in Chemistry. Dr. Rios then obtained her PhD. at Michigan State University once she moved to the United States. From there, she went to National Lewis University to earn her Master’s degree.

Rios then began her teaching career at College of DuPage. She took time off to be with her young children, but got back into teaching at the Illinois Math and Science Academy for many years after that.

After some personal changes, she decided she needed a slight change of pace, and that led her to St. Joseph High School. Coming from a history of Catholic Schools herself, she felt right at home here.

Some of the things she enjoys about St. Joseph include the sense of community, the diversity and the fact that it is a small school.

“I like that it is very diverse,” she said. “I like that I fit in because I am very different myself, too.”

Dr. Rios feels that the students here at St. Joseph are pleasant and polite.

In the future, Dr. Rios would like to have a club for environmental science. She also plans on starting an all-girls club for young women who are interested in learning about feminism.

“The first year of a teacher is really busy because you have to be preparing materials all the time, so there isn’t much time to do other things,” she said.

Dr. Rios believes that caring for her students and wanting them to get the most out of their high school careers as they possibly can are what makes her a good teacher. Her students’ education and safety are what mean the most to Rios.

“For my students, I want them to find what they need to do to learn, whatever it is,” she said.

The best advice that she can give to her students is that it is important to find something you love to do that you can apply to life and school. Dr. Rios believes that it is very important for her female students to be independent and not have to rely on someone else to get them by.