Ramirez shows American Dream is still a reality

Ramirez shows American Dream is still a reality

In 1987, Spring Valley’s math teacher Jose Israel Ramirez-Gamez was a sixteen year old boy who had big dreams in the city of Morelia, Mexico. He envisioned himself becoming something more than his family could imagine. So packing his bags, Mr. Ramirez said goodbye to his family and was sent off to the United States to fulfill his American Dream. Supportive of his choice, his family gave him enough Pesos for a bus ticket.

“I came to the United States because I was seeking to achieve greater opportunities, to live the American Dream I guess,” Ramirez said of his journey. “It was just me by myself. It wasn’t that easy to be here in the united States.”

Ramirez rode on a bus all the way to Santa Ana, California from his hometown. A 28 hour ride, Mr. Ramirez explained how fun it was to be on a bus to enter the U.S. However, once he set foot in the city, he set out to find a job.

“It was tough. There were moments where I had nothing to eat. I was homeless for a couple of weeks when I first came here to the United States because I knew nobody,” Ramirez remembered. “But it was rewarding though because I knew I would come to reach an American Dream and to be better.”

He explained that he did not have the chance to go to high school in America because he had no one to support his education. Instead, he worked on getting his citizenship and got his first job at a restaurant to wash dishes. There, he slowly learned English, understanding how it was used in America.

“My advice is for them [U.S. immigrants] is to continue to be working hard on what they want to reach, especially if they need to speak the language,” he explained. “Because without learning the language, they can’t reach a lot of their goals.”

The biggest conflict for Ramirez, however, was the culture. Ramirez said it hard to adjust to the American lifestyle: a whole new set of rules. In Mexico, he was accustomed to a different language, different food, different people, different ideologies and different government. But despite these difficulties, Ramirez persevered.

“I wanted to come to the United States because I wanted to make a difference in my life. Even though I had everything where I grew up with my family, I wanted to become independent at an early age.”

After having a stable income, Mr. Ramirez focused on his education and finding his American Dream career.

“I got my GED, taking some classes in college. That is how I was able to move forward in my education to college. I was really into Computer Science, so I started to take math classes because Computer Science requires a lot of math classes. And all of a sudden, if I could say it, I fell in love with math. So I was like, ‘you know what, I’m going to teach math, because I like numbers, I like variables, it is making sense to me so why not,’” said Mr. Ramirez.

His wife, Mrs. Rosa “Jackie” Ramirez, is also a teacher at Spring Valley High School and an immigrant from Mexico. She credits Mr. Ramirez for his great teaching ability and notes that he is an inspiration to her.

“I became a teacher because of him,” she said, noting that in college he helped tutor her in math.”  He’s a great teacher. It wasn’t easy for him to get what he has now. He has the personality to do it.”

Many students agree that Ramirez’s teaching style is one of their favorites. It is not uncommon to see Ramirez rapping, running or shouting as he tries to make the concepts of math stick.

Students such as senior Jake Anderson enjoys being in his class and how he acts as a teacher.

“I do like him. His class is pretty good. He is very outgoing and different from most teachers that I had,” said Anderson.

Though his journey was difficult, Ramirez explained that the hard work was worth him achieving the American Dream, and that those stuck in limbo should continue fighting for theirs as well.