Martinez Unified School District was incredibly fortunate to have Dr. Victor Rios as keynote speaker for our Staff Development Day for secondary teachers. Dr. Rios is an engaging, poignant, genuine speaker and had the audience riveted the entire length of the speech. In his presentation, Dr. Rios links defining moments in his life to the educators who contributed to his success, or (in many cases) increased the cultural disconnect he felt between home and the institution of school. He expertly infuses the most current research with an obvious and down-to-earth understanding of teachers and kids. His message is a simple one, but Dr. Rios's presentation was anything but simplistic. Dr. Rios reminds us that relationships matter, that our students are all our students, and that the sentence, "I'm here for you when you're ready," can change a student's life forever.
Audrey Lee Coordinator of Educational Services - Martinez Unified School District
Dr. Victor Rios recently visited our middle school and presented his compelling life story to 600 students. In my 25 years in education, I have never witnessed a group of 12-14-year-olds so mesmerized and attentive. You could have heard a pin drop as he recounted his inspiring story of overcoming poverty, delinquency, and the influence of gangs. His message was loud and clear: Get involved in school, stay connected, and make wise choices. Following his presentation, he set aside time to meet with several of my students and I truly believe he may have made an impact on them. After his presentation, as I walked around campus, I overheard students commenting on his powerful message and responding positively.
Katy Miller, Principal - Bryant Middle School Dos Palos Oro Loma JUSD
Dr. Rios is a powerful and magnetic speaker who truly knows how to communicate with and influence young people. He spoke to the students with honesty and respect -- and in turn, they listened with open ears and hearts. When he told the students that they had the power to become our "21st Century leaders," you could practically hear them sit up in their seats and prepare to carry themselves with more pride when they walked out of the room. I fully expect one or more of these students to come visit us in ten or fifteen years, and share with us how their interaction with Dr. Rios changed their lives. I am thankful that our young leaders had the good fortune to encounter this powerful and dynamic voice at this point in their lives.
Christy Weir, Mayor - The City of Ventura
As Dr. Rios reflects on his own experience, he explains that he had someone believe in him so much, that they tricked him into believing in himself. That is our mission at Wahupa, and we are honored to have Dr. Rios standing by our side, believing in all of our students, so much so that they have no choice but to believe in themselves.
Thank you, Dr. Rios for taking the time to use your knowledge and passion to better the lives of our students. Hearing and seeing how they have been able to grow from working with you is a blessing and I look forward to updating you on where they all are in the future.
Caline Nasr Farah, M.Ed,. Associate Director - Wahupa Upward Bound