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Posted: 10/08/19

We Teach Texas Student Spotlight: Olby Hughes


We Teach Texas

I am Olby Hughes. I was born and raised in Weslaco, Texas, by my mother and grandmother. I remember as a child going to factories to sell tamales with my mother. On weekends, my mother, sister and I went to the flea market to sell fajitas. During the summer as migrant workers, we traveled north to labor in the fields picking vegetables and fruits.

I was raised to be a hard worker and education was the most important aspect that was taught by my mother and grandmother. They used to say that you can succeed in whatever you choose but you must pursue your education first.  My mother always used to tell me that I was going to be successful, educated and travel the world.  After I graduated from high school, I joined the Marine Corps. I wanted to serve my country.  I served for twenty years and traveled the world.  I learned discipline, leadership, teamwork, loyalty, self-motivation, confidence and responsibility.

After I retired from the Marines, I went back to school and pursued a degree at Southeastern Louisiana University in Mass Communications. I decided to be a teacher, so I continued my university studies to obtain an Alternative Certification in Education.

In the classroom, I teach consciensa—self-awareness—to my students. It is important that they learn who they are, where they came from, and where they are going. They must ask and listen to their grandparents, uncles and aunts, and elder family friends about their history and write down their family history.  These people have many stories to tell that only they know.  Once they are gone, the stories are lost with them. There is so much rich history that we Latinos have in common that must never be forgotten.

The world is constantly changing. Inclusiveness and diversity are another lesson, that must be taught to our students.  There are many colors of people and ethnicities, diversities and challenges that people face.  We must cherish these differences and not exploit them. It is important to advocate and make sure their voices are heard and not silenced.

Another disposition I teach, and the most important, is Si se puede! Yes, we can.  As a group or as individuals, we can change the world.  We can make the world a better place.  It takes perseverance, commitment, faith and hope that we have what it takes. We must come and work together for a better world.

I came to TAMIU because I wanted to pursue a master’s degree in Counseling. I lived in Zapata, Texas, and commuted to my classes two or three times a week.  While living in Zapata, I was a middle school teacher and taught English Language Arts.  The reason that I would like to be a counselor is to advocate for children that are vulnerable and do not have a voice. Abuse of children is prevalent in our society. There are many types of abuse such as emotional, physical, sexual, and neglect.  I want to be able to get to the root of the problem or, at the very least, find favorable solutions for the children. Children are so vulnerable and are unable to take care of themselves. Often, the people they trust are the ones causing them harm. 

I think that by becoming a counselor I will fulfill my desire to be part of the change that is needed in my chosen profession. There is a stigma associated with counseling that prevents people from seeking the help that they need. Mental illness is under-treated and often goes undiagnosed.  I hope to raise awareness by educating parents, students, teachers and administrators.