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Volunteer job helped MC student find her passion - Odessa American: Good News

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Volunteer job helped MC student find her passion

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Posted: Friday, February 19, 2021 3:00 am

MIDLAND Volleyball led Angelica Mendoza to her chosen career path in education. Growing up, she was an avid volleyball player and played for Odessa High School.

However, it wasn’t until she served as a volunteer volleyball coach for the Boys & Girls Club that she knew she wanted to work with young people and become a teacher.

Mendoza graduated from Odessa High School in 2001 and then enrolled at the University of Texas Permian Basin where she made the volleyball team, but opted not to play due to work. She said that she just couldn’t decide what direction to take in life, so she dropped out of college. For the next 17 years, she started a family and worked for the State of Texas handling applications for Medicaid and food stamps and then worked as a supervisor for First American Home Warranty.

“My niece asked me to coach her volleyball team at the Boys and Girls Club,” Mendoza explained. “I just couldn’t say ‘no’ to her. I loved working with the children and teaching them about volleyball. The girls on my volleyball team, Divaz, made such an impact on me. They helped me realize that my true calling was to be a teacher.”

Mendoza decided to enroll in the Associate of Arts in Teaching program at Midland College (MC), where she is currently scheduled to graduate in May 2021. During the course of her studies at MC, she has completed her observation studies for various grade levels at IDEA Travis Academy (Travis Elementary), San Jacinto Junior High and Midland High School. She said that her favorite grades are 5th and 6th. Since August she has been employed as a teaching assistant at De Zavala Elementary School working with 5th graders.

“I say my favorites are 5th and 6th grades, but I just started helping with preschool children, and I also enjoy the little ones,” Mendoza said. “I just love working with and teaching children of all ages. I hope that I can instill in them the importance of education.

“All of my siblings have degrees or are currently seeking degrees,” Mendoza said. “My older brother is a computer engineer, graduated from the University of Houston, and my younger brother is currently in school, working toward a degree, also in computer engineering. My sister attended Remington College in Webster, Texas and is now a medical assistant. My dad kept asking me, ‘what about you?’

“It took me a while to discover what I wanted to do. I was happy working for the State and for the home warranty company, but I never felt like they were truly careers. They were just a means to make a living. Now that I have started taking education courses, I see what I was missing in those other jobs—a passion to make a difference and help change lives.

“Todd Houck [MC History professor] was one of the people who inspired me. He really made history exciting. I had never given much thought to history before I took his class. I remember thinking that I want to make my students as excited about learning a subject as Dr. Houck made me feel about learning history.”

Mendoza’s day starts at 7:00 a.m. when she has to report to her teaching assistant position at De Zavala. In the evenings, she participates in MC online courses and helps her own children with homework and other activities. When she graduates in May with an Associate of Arts in Teaching degree, she will transfer to either Texas Tech or UTPB to continue working toward a bachelor’s degree in education.

Mendoza recently married Gabriel who works in the oil and gas industry. Their blended family consists of Mendoza’s three children and Gabriel’s two grown children. They also have two grandchildren.

She tries to show their children how important it is to keep learning. This is one reason Mendoza decided to go back to school—to show their children the importance of following dreams and that education is a way to obtain goals.

My favorite saying to my children and to the Divaz is ‘Always reach further than the stars!’” she said. “I strive to live by that saying every day.”

Odessa, TX

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