Fabiola Leon ('08) | Teacher Education
for Plano, Texas, ISD
"Hard work pays off" isn't a cliché - it's a basic truth, and Fabiola Leon has the hardware to prove it.
Fabiola was one of the recipients last May of the Dean Adams Achievement Award, which is presented to students who show "extraordinary character, cultural growth and development, and the ability to overcome obstacles."
I love children, people and helping. And I felt that being a teacher would be the best way to target all three of these.
Fabiola was in elementary school when her family came to the United States from Mexico. She learned English and worked hard to become a first-generation college graduate.
The Dean Adams award was special to Fabiola, but it also is an award that is cherished by her entire family.
"It meant a lot to be able to have one more thing to show for the hard work that was put into those four years," she said. "I also feel that the award was a blessing to my family as it represented the achievements that could be possible not only for me, but for anyone - especially my siblings!"
Fabiola is in her first year teaching in the Plano Independent School District. Her journey to college graduation and a teaching job started in her hometown of McAllen. An ACU trustee, Abel Alvarez, also lives in McAllen and drove Fabiola to Abilene for a Purple Friday visit.
"I knew I was meant to go there the minute I set foot on campus," Fabiola said. "Everyone was so friendly and welcoming that I knew I'd fit right in."
Turns out she was exactly right. Fabiola made lots of friends right away and never felt alone. And her professors showed an interest in her that went beyond the classroom and textbooks.
"They actually care and they show interest in you, not only as a student but as a person," Fabiola said. "This really made college do-able and enjoyable!"
Besides forming lifelong friendships at ACU, Fabiola also got the preparation she needed to land a job with no trouble. She had numerous offers and felt overwhelmed trying to choose one.
"I actually had options and was able to pick what I personally wanted," she said. "That was truly a blessing."
Fabiola credits the teachers she had growing up with her desire to become an educator herself. They inspired her, and she wants to return the favor. Thanks to her ACU education, she is doing that now.
"I love my job," she said. "At the end of the day, I feel like my job is the most rewarding job there could ever be."
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