Candelario Barragan—known as "Cande" to his colleagues—brings excitement and enthusiasm to his math and AP Calculus classes at El Dorado High School in El Paso. From singing and break-dancing in his classroom to dressing up as characters at pep rallies, Barragan uses humor and high-energy antics to grab his students' attention and to provide incentives for reaching academic goals. Barragan also voluntarily works with students in small groups before and after school, as well as on Saturdays—all without extra pay. His unique teaching style has helped his students achieve a 98 percent passing rate on the Texas Assessment of Knowledge and Skills (TAKS). Having grown up in a family of migrant workers, Barragan coordinated school around working in the fields before school and until dusk. Even with this challenging schedule, plus an hour-long commute to and from school, Barragan graduated valedictorian of his senior class at Bowie High School in El Paso. He often shares childhood memories with his students, recalling his past fondly while inspiring students to appreciate what they have, including the opportunity to be educated. Students often ask to be in his class, and enrollment in AP Calculus has jumped from 32 students last year to 82 this year.
1996 University of Texas - El Paso, B.A.