Meet Mr. Velasco, SMHS Graduate and history teacher.


Below is a transcript of an interview a Breeze staff member conducted with Mr. Velasco:

1. why did you become a teacher?

I had a lot of great coaches and teachers in high school who planted the seed in me to pursue teaching. I love learning and I took an elective here in my senior year at SMHS called Introduction to Education. It was a class where a group of upper classmen go to freshman and sophomore classes and mentor and tutor students in their classes. I had a group of sophomores that I mentored and helped them in their world history class. I really enjoyed the experience of tutoring students not that much younger than me and thought teaching would be a cool career to do.

2. why did you choose history?

I think being a child of immigrants had to do what falling in love with History. My parents immigrated from Mexico and settled in Santa Maria, CA. They never talked about their experience of what it was like immigrating to a different country and as a kid I was always interest in learning from stories of immigrants, their challenges, policies that affected them and the contributions immigrant communities brought to the United States. Plus at the family dinner table, my parents always talked about what was happening in the news and I was always curious trying to understand world and current events we saw in the news.

3. Did you specifically choose SMHS? Or did it matter?

I chose Santa Maria High School because it’s where I graduated from. This school and the community is home to me . I knew I always wanted to work in the community where I grew up and after I was finishing up my teaching credential, I was applying everywhere, and I got a lot job offers outside of the area. I really wanted to get hired at this district, especially at SMHS. I almost accepted a job out of the area and was ready to move to Northern California until I saw a position for Social Science open at SMHS open and turn down the original job offer I had and took a risk and applied for a position here , not guaranteeing that I will get a teaching position here. But I am really happy things worked out to be teaching and working in the community where I came from.

4. what is your family like?

I grew up with three brothers so there were four boys in the family. Let’s just say we broke a lot of things around the house and made some visits to the ER because of broken bones. We all went to Santa Maria High here and played spots. We’re all competitive as well. We all close to the same age. My mom is the best cook hands down. And my dad is the hardest working man I know. He’s been a farmworker all my life and taught me to work with my hands but encouraged me to get a job where I didn’t have to do hard psychical labor.

5. favorite hobbies?

I picked up running a few years ago and run regularly a few days a week now. I love to run 5k and half marathons on the weekends. I also enjoy reading and dancing.

6. where did you go to school?

I started at Cuesta College where I only went there to wrestle and later transferred to Allan Hanock and then earned my bachelor’s at Cal Poly SLO.

7. what are your career priorities?

I am finally doing what I always wanted to do and don’t see myself doing anything else. I plan to stay teaching as long as I can. I am finishing my Masters in Education at Cal Poly SLO this year so once I am done with that, I will have more time on my hands.