A third-grade teacher at Our Lady of the Rosary School in Paramount received national attention for going the extra mile for his students.
To prepare for his first year as a teacher, Pablo Tiznado spent much of the summer decorating his classroom and buying teaching materials for his classroom with money saved from working at a shoe store.
Word got to “Despierta America,” Univision’s national morning show, that Tiznado had created an Amazon wish list of classroom materials, but had decided not to make it public for others to help.
On Aug. 23, the Spanish-language TV network partnered with Amazon to surprise Tiznado with a $5,000 donation to help toward school supplies for his students.
Tiznado, the son of Mexican immigrants and the first in his family to graduate from college, told Univision reporter Luis Sandoval that he hopes he can serve as an inspiration for his students.
“Growing up, I never had many teachers who looked like me,” said the 21-year-old Anaheim native. “I want my students to look at me and say ‘If Mr. Tiznado could do it, then I can, too.’ ”
Located in a working class area of Paramount, 90% of Our Lady of the Rosary students are Latino and 85% of students receive free or reduced-price lunch.
Our Lady of the Rosary principal Vanessa Rivas said that Tiznado’s dedication is making a visible impact in the first weeks of school, and that a few students and parents have given him welcome gifts since the “Despierta America” interview aired Aug. 25.
“The kids really like him,” said Rivas. “It’s been an easy transition.”
Tiznado came to the school through the Department of Catholic Schools’ teacher intern program. Rivas said that while she’s seen teachers spend their own money on supplies for students in the past, this case was especially striking.
“To see him do it as a first-year teacher, that shows his dedication from the get-go,” said Rivas, who has been principal at Our Lady of the Rosary for the last 11 years.
Producers at “Despierta America” heard about Tiznado’s story when a school employee reached out to Univision.
At first, Tiznado wasn’t sure whether to be interviewed for the show, since an aunt had been battling cancer that month, Rivas said. She passed away a few days after the interview.
“He put his students at that time first,” said Rivas. “And at the same time, he was rewarded with this gift. He was blessed.”