Focus on: Juan Enriquez
Hometown: Macungie, Pa.
Cedar Crest Program/Year of Graduation: Post-Baccalaureate Certificate in Secondary Education/Social Studies—2001
Occupation: Eighth Grade Teacher—Government Studies
Employer: South Mountain Middle School, Allentown, Pa.
Cedar Crest Connection:
Enriquez enrolled at Cedar Crest in large part because the College was willing to give him a chance. A former medical records clerk, he said Cedar Crest was very supportive when he decided to switch careers—despite his average grades as an undergraduate. He was enrolled on a trial basis and excelled.
“Cedar Crest gave me the opportunity to fulfill something that I wanted to do, a goal I wanted to achieve—and that was to become a teacher. The Cedar Crest education program does a stellar job. I still write my lesson plans with the objective, the rationale, the standards—everything (Assistant Education Professor) Mary Beth O’Connell wanted from my lesson plans.”
Enriquez earned the 2010 Howard L. Klopp Exemplary Teacher Award from Cedar Crest College last fall, given annually to a deserving K-12 teacher in Lehigh and Northampton counties. More than 100 students, faculty and administrators were on hand to share in the achievement during a special presentation at South Mountain Middle School.
“I got this award for showing up and doing my job. I think one of the important things about teaching is you need to have a passion. I have fun with it and I think because kids see me having fun with it, the by-product is that they’re learning.”
On Teaching in the Allentown Area, Where He Grew Up:
Teaching in an urban area has its advantages and disadvantages, but Enriquez said it’s an ideal situation for him.
“I think the key to teaching in an urban school district like Allentown is that connect that I have with them. I think it resonates with them that, ‘I am one of you.’ I hope that I’m a role model for these kids. If I can make an impact on them so they grow up to be productive citizens, that’s such a reward when you’re teaching.”
And Now a Word from the Principal:
South Mountain Middle School Principal Frank Derrick said teachers like Enriquez truly make a difference.
“Mr. Enriquez is an integral part of what we do. He’s very involved with the students and their families, he volunteers his time for many, many events, some of which are on weekends, and he runs a team of teachers and the 125 kids in that team. He’s someone who epitomizes what teaching at South Mountain Middle School is all about.”