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Wednesday, December 5, 2007

A Privilege and an Honor

The website defines success as "the attainment of wealth, position, honors, or the like." I prefer to define success a little differently. To me success is the ability of a man or woman to fail, but then have the courage to get back up, dust off the mud and then try life all over again. Unfortunately, a few people lack the strength and courage to "try life all over again." Instead these individuals become angry or bitter and lose hope. Once they lose hope, fear kicks in and the courage to follow their dreams and achieve a level of greatness is lost sometimes forever.

I have had the privilege and honor of working with some amazing individuals who chose hope, not anger or bitterness, not defeat and not fear. They chose to live courageous and successful lives. I cannot name them all although I wish I could. Chris, for instance, left my class winner of a writing award and went on to pursue his dream of acting. Just this term he debuted in his first college play. In my class Osmel was never satisfied with just good grades. He wanted great ones, and he went on to become president of the business club at the college. Gabriel continues to receive recognitions and awards for his incredible artistic talent. Philp brought a delightful freshness and inspiration to my class, joined PTK and graduated from Miami Dade with honors.

I will also remember those that had to work harder than anyone else, the ones who kept coming back for more punishment and heartache. One such student was Natalie, but to my amazement, when she fell, she got up dusted herself off and courageously came back to conquer the obstacles that stood in her way. She never gave up. In the end she triumphed. Wow!

Of course, this piece would be incomplete without mentioning Yasmin who for me has been an inspiration. If there is anyone that lives a fearless life, it is Yasmin. In addition to her success in my course, she received a departmental award and has also been a dedicated contributor to my online magazine Reflections where she publishes her poetry. Recently she even started her own blog. She defines the true meaning of a life of greatness and success. There are no obstacles big enough to keep her down; she fights and she fights hard. In her eyes, I always see that glimpse of hope that I wish all my students had. I am blessed to know her.

And yes, I know how Ms. Riley feels in the film October Sky when she says she wants to brag to the world about her students because it is their success that makes her life worthwhile. So yes I will brag to the world about how fortunate I am to have met these people and the countless others that have touched my life in so many ways.

I am honored to work with such amazing students who display tremendous courage and perseverance. Even when they receive low scores on a test or a low grade on a paper, my students come back the next day. Although many of them have known failure first hand way too many times, they somehow find the strength to dust it all off, get up and walk into my class again. That alone is an incredible feat. Don't you think?


  1. Mrs.Cueto, your new piece is my favorite ; i personally feel that you are an incredible professor because of your humbleness and sincerity of helping your students achieve their goals; only if there were more teachers like you. The way you inspire me i hope to inspire my students likewise.(you are one of a kind ).

  2. The story you wrote was very interesting to read. It is nice to hear how your students inspired you and how you respect them for never giving up. I belive that people should carry the mentality of never giving up and never taking faliure for an answer with them all the time. Also, by you remembering the accomplishments of your past students shows that you care about your students progress throughout life.

  3. Ms.Cueto I personally appreciate you sharing that with us. I want to think you for always finding ways for us to stay on track, and ahead of the game. From: Marc Luscar

  4. I agree with you and I admired those students who overcome the obsticles and cross the barriers, that's a real success and it is a example for us to follow. I thank you for being the way you are, always helping us and taking care of us in every sense.
    thank you

  5. great article!!!!

  6. Hello, Ms Cueto
    After I read this article, I'am feeling really good. Now, I know that I'am not the only person Who has struggle with English. Thank you for encorage me to continue with my classes.

  7. Mrs. Cueto,
    Thank you for sharing the reasons why you wake up in the morning and teach. I personally connected with this article because there are days when I fell like I want to give up but I "dust myself off" and remember why I am here to begin with. Education is key the surviving in the world we live in today. I love school and can’t imagine being anywhere else. I have fallen down, gotten back up and returned to school. Continue to inspire others because that can help change the world. Thank you.

  8. Some times I fell bad because I do not get the grades I want, and some times is hard to keep focus toward something when you have so much going around you; however I’m impress how throw your writings I stand up again to try my best. I hope I continue like that and learn more every day in your class. ! Thank you for worrying about your students progress!

  9. Ms Cueto It's Marie. I really like that post. It gives me strengh to live and to make progress in school. You show me that even if I had fail in life or in something that I'd entreprised I still have couple of chances. Thank youy so much.


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