Hispanic Heritage: Assistant Principal embraces dual role within the Colton community

Jorge Alvarez is an assistant principal at Colton High and a proud Hispanic-American.

Courtesy J. Alvarez

Jorge Alvarez is an assistant principal at Colton High and a proud Hispanic-American.

Hispanic Heritage Month is about celebrating Hispanic history and culture. It is a very important time in Colton since Hispanics make up a majority of the community. Hispanic Heritage Month is celebrated from September 15 to October 15 to recognize the achievements and contributions of Hispanic Americans.

One Hispanic-American who is an important part of Colton High School and the Colton community is Jorge Alvarez, our assistant principal. He was born and raised in the tropics of El Salvador.

Alvarez’s childhood in El Salvador consisted of pretty normal activities, such as going to school, practicing soccer in the afternoons, playing with friends around the block, and enjoying the warm waters of the Pacific Ocean on the weekends with his family.

During his sophomore year Alvarez’s life changed when he came to Rialto, California.

It was very difficult for him to adjust to a new language, environment, and culture, but with the help of a great group of friends and caring teachers, as well as his family, he found excellent support through the process.

Before coming to Colton High, Alvarez served as a social sciences teacher-coach in Rialto Unified, then an Assistant Principal at Bloomington High.

The choice to become an administrator came about because Alvarez felt he wanted to expand his influence and impact on the lives of students. After a year of working at Bloomington High, a position opened at Colton. Then Superintendent Jerry Almandarez took Alvarez aside and encouraged him to apply. “[He] told me that I would be a good role model for the students at CHS.”

Alvarez enjoys being an administrator at Colton High because he gets the opportunity to work with young adults and be a part of such a crucial time in their lives. “Being able to counsel, advise, and make a difference in students’ lives is a very rewarding experience.”

Still, Alvarez is not done. He believes in continually working to improve himself. “Being in a leadership role also means that there is a higher standard for us,” he says. “I am constantly pushing myself to read books, earn certifications . . . so I can stay up to date and that also helps me reflect daily about my practice.”

He is currently pursuing his Doctorate at San Diego State.

As a Hispanic member of our community, Alvarez believes that one’s culture is about your “customs, your language, and your principles. It’s very important you stay true to who you are and respect your culture.”

Staying true to himself is not without its challenges. One of the biggest is that Alvarez finds he has to play a dual role within the community.

“Not only do I have the responsibility to be the best assistant principal that I can be for all of our students, parents, and staff, but I also have to be a good representative of those who see themselves as sharing my background or culture.”

Still, Alvarez believes it is essential to acknowledge his culture and the diversity to be found there. “Hispanic heritage also helps us to see ourselves not as just belonging to one nationality or race, but it allows us to see ourselves as part of a larger group of people with a similar background, culture, and aspirations.”