RIVIERA BEACH, Fla. - For the past 21 years Dr. Marilyn Henriquez has been teaching Spanish at Suncoast Community High School in Riviera Beach. After school, she continues to help her students by tutoring many of them under the umbrella of the Spanish Honor Society, which she founded. Somehow she still finds time to volunteer at her church, chair the school’s International Baccalaureate program and do other community service.
On Friday, her efforts were recognized by the Hispanic Chamber of Commerce of Palm Beach County, which named her the 2014 Hispanic Teacher of the Year.
“Her extensive community service and her commitment to education were among the reasons we chose her as the teacher of the year,” said Felix Martinez, one of five members of the chamber’s Education Committee.
Henriquez was chosen from among 12 nominees, all of whom were required to write an essay reflecting on their experience as a teacher.
The award was established by the chamber to honor the many contributions of classroom teachers of Hispanic heritage.
So what’s the secret of a good teacher?
Henriquez says a teacher should be “willing to wake up in the morning and think about them (students) and dream about them.”
Dr. Henriquez will be officially recognized during the chamber’s Awards Ceremony May 14 at the Cuban-American Club in West Palm Beach.