Surprise for Migrant Teacher of the Year

There are honors for a local teacher for his hard work and dedication to educating migrant students.

A surprise assembly for Guillermo Gonzalez congratulated him as Florida's Migrant Success Story/Migrant Teacher of the Year.

Guillermo Gonzalez said, "I was real shocked. It was shocking. I didn't expect it at all."

Gonzalez moved throughout Mexico, Texas, and Florida with his migrant family. He graduated from Florida State University in 2003 and began teaching in Gadsden County soon after.

Now a legal resident, he wants to give back.

Maria Pouncey, Migrant Coordinator for PAEC, said, "Mr. Gonzalez has been an inspiration to all of us. He had worked with our program in the evening and also volunteers all through college teaching English to our parents and to some of our students, giving them additional homework help."

Gonzalez received Migrant Teacher of the Year for 2005, but officials wanted to wait until he recovered from a tragic car accident that left him in a wheelchair.

Gonzalez said, "I decided I can do this. I decided to come back and teach. I knew there was going to be a struggle because I'm not walking yet, but that didn't stop me from doing what I like doing."

Teaching at West Gadsden High, Gonzalez also teaches many of the 275 migrant students in a migrant summer program at George Munroe Elementary.

He says he hopes his teaching and life is an inspiration to his students.

"I'm a migrant, they are migrants, and they can succeed in life as well."