Mrs. Peña: Managing Life and Persevering


Mrs. Peña, Selma High Biology and AP Biology teacher.

Michael Casarez, Reporter

We’ve all encountered tough times in our lives, but such hardships serve as subtle reminders that we need to be strong in the face of adversity.
Mrs. Peña, Biology and AP Biology teacher at Selma High, is a leading example of perseverance. She has both intrinsic and extrinsic motivation, yet she is humble and respectful.
“It may sound cliche, but the birth of my children has had an incredible impact on my life. Not only because of the love I have for them, but also because they have given me the opportunity to learn true empathy for others,” she stated. This is amplified in her methodology of teaching, in which she exercises the experimental (and relatively effective) process of striving to understand even trivial issues that arise in students’ lives, in order to help them learn.
Unequivocally, everyone has faced stressful situations, but it’s how we come out of such situations that truly matter. For significant decisions in one’s life, even minute details cannot be spared, but it becomes difficult when dealing with everyday troubles that have the ability to cloud one’s dreams. However, Mrs. Peña proves to be a paragon of diligence.
“I am the only one of eight children that went to college and has a professional career,” she says. Obviously, such occasions require one to step back and analyze the scenario, as she believes, but she also advised that you should seek guidance from those who have faced similar hardships.
It’s imperative to also comprehend the background of an individual to achieve the complex skill of empathy.
“My parents were farm laborers and the most they expected from my siblings and I was for us to get a job after high school. College was actually a bit of a struggle because I couldn’t work a 40 hour work week to help with the household needs,” she elaborated.
Every situation is different though, and it’s impossible to be prepared for each one, as each person is well aware. However, you can learn to cope with these encounters that are unique to each of us.
“My current struggle includes helping my students realize the importance of an education. Many of my students remind me of me. They, I’m afraid, might not have the privilege of having a best friend to guide them. They honestly can’t see themselves in college because college seems like something only Americanized, rich, smart kids do. I get it; that was me,” she thoughtfully added.
Not all are blessed to have someone in their life they can trust, who they can rely on when they feel as though they’re alone. It’s often rare that such a person exists, but those with similar people in their lives should cherish them.
“Appreciate where you come from. Your family is the most important thing in your life. They are who make you who you are. Go to college, get an education; not only so you can have a good paying job but so you can have knowledge, so you can impact your family and community, so you can have empathy for others, and so you can be the best version of yourself that you can be!”
This is her message to those struggling with life’s hardships. It’s never easy to come out of tough situations unscathed, and some would argue it’s impossible to do so, but with good, loyal, compassionate companions (and of course, intrinsic motivation) you can accomplish any feat of your choosing.