“Art wants to be found!” exclaims Hidalgo Independent School District Art educator, Rosio Guerrero. For Guerrero, Art is more than just an elective, it’s about finding beauty within the South Texas community all while embracing the Hispanic/Latino culture. A critical goal for Guerrero is to promote art in all forms by building connections with Oral History and reviving them. In class, students are encouraged to connect with their emotions by expressing themselves without reluctance through their artwork. Love, understanding, and appreciation for the world of art is one of many things Ms. Guerrero hopes to instill in her students. “I’m very passionate, this is not a teaching job, this is a lifestyle, I live and breathe art every day. It’s not a hobby!” she added enthusiastically.
Guerrero is driven, dedicated, and determine to make a difference and empower the Latino community with the very essence of education. For Guerrero, education is a key component of hard work that helps one grow and develop, and in return helps shape a better tomorrow for the future leaders of America. “She’s very passionate for what she does and always excited to what she’s going to do with her students. It’s always student centered. This is very rare to find, specifically in art,” stated Krystal Castellanos, an art teacher at Hidalgo Early College High School and Guerrero’s coworker.
Ms. Guerrero was born in Monterrey, N.L. With only a few months old her family took that leap of faith and migrated to the United States and settled in Weslaco, TX. At a very young age, she discovered her love for art by scrapping, photography, and collaging with magazines and fabrics. She graduated from Weslaco High School in 2002.
Shortly after, she decided to attend South Texas College (STC) to attain her associates in Biology. However, her professor noticed she was more into the arts and redirected her in that career path. She didn’t falter and graduated with her Liberal Arts degree and earned her Bachelor of Arts at then-University of Texas-Pan American in April 2010. Her love for art continued to grow.
Amid her pursuit of education, Guerrero became a single mother and decided to take a break to focus on her daughter. Within that break, she pondered on her future and without hesitation, she discovered that her purpose was to guide and show others different ways in finding new meanings, new perspectives through the arts. As a single mother she’s come face to face with adversity time and time again. But with much grace, poise, and her family’s love and support she continued to break barriers. After her break, Guerrero regrouped and quickly jumped back on board by taking an Alternative Certification Program and was certified.
Earlier this year, Guerrero earned her MA in Fine Arts from the University of Texas Rio Grande Valley (UTRGV) with the support of Region One ESC GEAR UP and Hidalgo Independent School District. The purpose of this partnership between other local institutes of higher education and Region One ESC GEAR UP is to assist high school teachers with the opportunity to pursue a master’s degree. In this case, Hidalgo Early College High School was seeking for an art instructor to teach rigorous courses. “Something the District was lacking was an Art teacher who was fully capable of teaching college courses, such as Art Appreciation. Ms. Guerrero was the perfect candidate and was eligible for this position,” adds Jorge Ochoa, GEAR UP Facilitator. Participants are chosen by the district superintendent and campus principals and are offered three full academic years to complete the required courses. In return, Guerrero had to commit and complete the entire program. GEAR UP provided tuition support in the amount of $2,000 and Hidalgo Independent School District took it upon themselves to assist with the remaining cost of tuition and fees.
One of her major projects during this time was ‘Figuras de Mujeres’ for her Master of Fine Arts Exhibition (MFA) dedicated to strong, Mexican women. “GEAR UP was the emphasis for my MFA Exhibition. Because of Hidalgo ISD my Exhibition was a possibility and success,” said Guerrero with much pride and gratitude.
“All I want is to make my dad proud. I went into teaching because of him and my aunts. They are all well respected educators and have paved the way for me,” Guerrero explains. She has been teaching at Hidalgo Early College High School for the past 6 years and has enjoyed every moment. “Hidalgo is my home, and I look forward to retiring from Hidalgo ISD when the time comes,” Guerrero adds.
When Guerrero is not teaching art or painting, she’s sewing, collaging repurposing old plastic, metal, fabric, and wood, or putting together sculptures. She’s been a mentor to many, and many students and colleagues have learned to appreciate her love for art, dedication, and hard work. “As my mentor, she made me feel very welcomed and comfortable. She helped me get use to the culture here, on campus. I love her enthusiasm about art and her students, which is rare to find because many teachers tend to stray away from focusing on the students. With Ms. Guerrero it was a nice change of pace. Her dedication and love for art speaks volumes of the person she is. She’s an amazing artist and human being,” explains Castellanos.
For Guerrero and her art students many projects are on their near future. They hope to work on murals around the community by promoting the South Texas culture and remind the students of the ‘Hispanic Historia’ by staying connected with their roots. Guerrero plans to enhance Hidalgo’s beauty through their artwork. Publishing an art book is also a vital goal.
Guerrero looks forward in introducing her students to an Art Appreciation course in the Spring. “I’m excited for that! It’s not only about teaching the appreciation for art or how it’s made, or its history, but making those connections how or why do artist tell us something and record history. Many stories have died along the way and are still yet to be told by past and current artists. Therefore, it’s important to make those connections so we can revive them. All we must do is find them; art wants to be found!”