As Henry Adams once said, “A teacher affects eternity; he can never tell where his influence stops.” During his years at Shaker High School, Dr. Gomez has influenced not just his Spanish students, but the entire school community. Although we are very sad to say goodbye to such an amazing teacher, we are sincerely grateful to have had the opportunity to know such a great person.
Prior to last year, I had heard about Dr. Gomez in snippets, only vaguely aware of what an excellent teacher he was. However, after being in his Spanish class, I was able to fully realize why he is so beloved among his students and fellow teachers. His Spanish origins brought a different perspective to the Spanish classroom that I had never experienced before. Not only did I learn much about Spain through his personal experiences, but I was also able to learn various aspects of the Spanish language that could only be conveyed by someone who was extremely familiar with the language.
Obviously, there is no doubt that he is an excellent Spanish teacher, but that is not the only reason why he is so widely loved. Starting from the first day I walked into his classroom to even now when I visit him, the very open environment that exists in his room is highly valued by everyone. By keeping the mood light with jokes and short stories, he ensures that every one of his students is able to feel comfortable. He is always relatable and funny and builds close relationships with his students, so they felt “at home” in his class. In fact, some of the quietest of my peers, who never speak in other classes, were eager to speak up and express their opinion in Dr. Gomez’s class. His energetic personality was contagious and always filled us with an unexplainable happiness. Even when I was having the worst of days, just simply walking into his classroom and talking to him, instantly made me feel better.
The life lessons he taught us are ones that I will carry with me for the rest of my life.
He emphasized the worth of being respectful individuals and gave us helpful tips to do so. He always helped us by giving advice on what we asked. His guiding principle was not doing any busy work, which is work done only to pass the time and keep students busy. Instead of doing busy work, he valued getting to know his students, talking about life, and telling us amusing stories. One of my favorite parts of Dr. Gomez’s class was the anecdotes he told. They always made all of us laugh and greatly surprised us. We all loved hearing his life stories, whether it was his near-death experience when he was chased by a bull through the streets or the time he had to host a nationally broadcasted boxing event with thousands of people watching!
Unfortunately, Dr. Gomez will be leaving us this upcoming January. I know I speak not only for myself, but the whole Shaker community when I say that he has greatly impacted our lives and that he will be missed dearly. I am very sad that I will no longer see him everyday when I walk through J-hall or be able to stop in and say hello, but I am also happy that he can now spend his time at his beautiful house in Spain. I hope that he has a wonderful and relaxing retirement with his friends and family. He may be leaving Shaker pretty soon, but Dr. Gomez, you will always have a very special place in our hearts.