Principal Hernandez, left, leads fifth graders on annual trip to Washington, D.C.
|The principal leads a group on a tour of Russia and Perkin's sister school there.|
|Principal Hernandez, left, with community members and Russian educators on an exchange visit.|
Meet Fernando Hernandez
Our school is going places. The White House. Russia. Outer Space.
My goal as principal is to show students what is out there beyond their community. We have many programs to engage students and their families and to educate them beyond the classroom.
We started an Astronomy Club, and our first project was launching a weather balloon with cameras attached, which advanced our students' understanding of the stratosphere.
We have a Russian Club and maintain an active partnership with a Russian sister school, including exchanges and visits. Not only do our students learn another language, they learn another culture and expand their horizons.
My personal interest in Russia started when I was young and the Soviet Union was considered our enemy. I wanted to learn more about what made that country tick, and I felt cramped when people told me that as a Mexican-American kid I could not possibly learn the Russian language or the long complex history of that nation. I became determined to prove them wrong, so I studied Russian at the University of California, Los Angeles, and I earned my bachelor's degree in political science.
I believe no one should tell children that their possiblities are limited. That's why I became a teacher.
One day fate clarified my world view. The school dismissal bell rang on Feb. 26, 1998, and at 3:18 p.m. my student stood on the corner outside school with his mother. A drunk driver struck him with his car. The boy, who had been an inspiration in the classroom, so bright and full of promise, was killed.
As we all dealt with the tragedy, I vowed that I would work harder to reach more children and to make a difference in their lives. I became a school principal, and now I bring that dedication to Perkins where I see our programs taking effect before my very eyes.
Perkins is a school in perpetual motion. Among our many programs is our annual trip to Washington, D.C., concluding our study of American history. Our students learn about goal setting, for they raise their own funds for the trip. When they tour our nation's capital, they can see and feel much more about what our country means. They learn far beyond the classroom lessons, important life skills like ettiquette, the practical experience of travel, crossing time zones and even jet lag!
We welcome all to come see our amazing Perkins students in action!