By Felicia S. Levine
City & Shore Magazine
We’ve all got a story: The instructor who helped you conquer the fear of geometry, or provided comfort when you were bullied, or encouraged you to apply for a scholarship. In this ongoing series, we introduce some of the educators behind those stories.
EDUCATOR: Carlos Perez-Cubas, Personal Ethics Teacher and Activities Director at Cardinal Gibbons Catholic High School, 2900 NE 47th St., Fort Lauderdale, 954-491-2900, cghsfl.org.
ABOUT PEREZ-CUBAS: He majored in theology and education at Miami-based Barry University and worked as a church youth minister before returning to his alma mater Cardinal Gibbons 34 years ago to launch his popular class. “I try to teach students to be true to themselves and develop goals and relationship skills to use in everyday life,” says Perez-Cubas, 56, who in his spare time counsels students.
WHY TEACH? “I’m a caretaker so it’s natural and easy to work with teenagers. I have a bag full of letters from kids thanking me for helping them, or for giving them confidence. I feel so blessed to be a part of their development and to be able to play a role in helping them to reach their potential.”
BIGGEST CHALLENGE: “Teaching kids to have personal connections despite technology; they text rather than talk. I also do a class on phone etiquette, which includes breaking up with someone in a healthy way; and teaching them that the phone is not private. Whatever they say ends up in cyberspace.”
MEMORABLE MOMENT: “About eight years ago I had a student whose father left him and his mother, taking all their money. They had to move into a one-room studio; it was difficult and they were not getting along. In my course I teach communication and how not to argue and hurt each other. My student wrote down the key points and stuck them on their refrigerator with a note saying, ‘Mom let’s give it a try.’ His mom called me later crying. She said for the first time in two years they’d had a great conversation without arguing.”