The positive influence of a teacher can never be erased. This is especially true for teacher Liliana Casarrubias. Casarrubias has been a dedicated teacher here at Rialto High School since 2004.
Casarrubias grew up in East LA and was the first in her family to attend college. She decided to go into teaching because of her own experiences in school. She emphasizes, "I felt like there was a need for more teachers from the community to teach students."
Casarrubias teaches Advanced Placement (AP) Government and Politics, US Government, and Ethnic and Social Justice this school year.
Ethnic and Social Justice is a relatively new class, starting in 2019. The class focuses on telling the untold history of different minority groups that are often overlooked. Casarrubias pioneered the course as part of the curriculum development team.
She describes the curriculum's development as a "life-changing experience" and was especially happy to be teaching it now because of the "need for a class representative of the students in the community."
As a Latina, she has connected with a large portion of the student body from a cultural perspective. Senior Bianca Chavez is part of her only Ethnic and Social Justice class. Chavez emphasizes, "I feel very comfortable in her class, especially because she is from the same ethnic group as me, and I can relate to her. She is very open to many topics and issues in our community, such as colorism, racism, and stereotypes."
Senior Livia Rollie was in the class last year and states, "I learned a lot about other people's experiences with inequality in education. We are definitely still fighting, and not everything is going to be equal and perfect for people of color."
This critical line of thinking is a commonality in students in her class. Students are impacted by the class and all thanks to Cassarrubia's efforts.
Senior Jake Aaron Beloso remarks, "I learned about current events, policies, and government that I did not know before. However, she makes learning a lot of fun through games such as the constitution game."
Senior Sydney Rodriquez is currently taking the class. At first, she was wary about the class since she had initially chosen to take AP Macroeconomics. However, the class has grown on her, especially due to Casarrubias transparency in class. She comments, "I had no idea how deep corruption runs even in the United States. But also I learned about my rights and how I can use them to protect myself."
Casarrubias mainly teaches seniors, so she supports her students by providing feedback on their personal insight essays for college applications. She remarks, "My biggest highlight has been sending students off to college and having them tell me about their success stories and accomplishments."
Class of 2022 Valedictorian Eric Rojas currently attends the University of California, Irvine, and took AP Government his senior year. Rojas says, "The morning after Roe v Wade was announced to be overturned, we spent the period discussing how this made abortion rights much more complex. It really showed the importance of how the country operated and how being informed has real life effects."
Outside of regular content teaching Casarrubias provides advice for her students. 2022 graduate Rosalie Martinez is a student at Cal Poly Pomona and comments, “She would tell us stories about her past students' experiences which have already helped. I would have made the same mistakes.”
On top of her full course load, Casarrubias dedicates time after school as an advisor for a new student-led activism club, Diversify Our Narrative. Cassarrubias expresses, "I am excited to see where we can take this club and what policy changes we can bring about." She hopes to see "More cultural relevancy in the curriculum so that students are more engaged to learn about themselves and their history."
Recently, Rialto High School has seen a trend of losing teachers. However, Casarrubias does not see herself leaving anytime soon.
"I am able to connect to the students, I feel like this is my second home, and it reminds me a lot of the community I grew up in, so I can relate to what the students are going through."