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Paying it forward
Posted by Eloy Garza, PSJA Southwest Marketing Instructor on 12/17/2018
I have served as the marketing instructor and shot put/discus coach at PSJA Southwest Early College High School since 2012. I graduated from PSJA North in 2003 and studied marketing and advertising at Morningside College in Sioux City, IA on a football, track and choir scholarship. Prior to being an educator, I served as a corporate account executive an head of marketing for technical publications firm in San Antonio. I came back to the valley to start a family with my high school sweetheart and decided to pursue a career in teaching/coaching because I wanted to try and make an impact in my community. The corporate world was great, but I wanted something more fulfilling than a monetary reward.
I am blessed to work with the amazing young men and women of the South Pharr community. When given the right motivation they will outwork, outperform, and outshine any other student in the country. I wear two hats at Southwest, “Mr. Marketing” and Coach Garza. As a teacher, I run the Southwest Marketing program, the first student-led marketing agency in the United States. We offer comprehensive marketing services in exchange for real-life experience. I started this method of teaching because my students weren’t engaged in my class. I thought there had to be a better way to get them engaged with the material and give them experience that would really prepare them. Our program is now working with international corporations such as HP and has been recognized as an innovative model by the U.S. Department of Education. More importantly, many of my former students are doing very well in college and pursuing careers in marketing.
As a coach, I’ve had the opportunity to train some of the best athletes in the country. My athletes have seen success as Districts Champions, State Finalists, and Junior Olympians but the real focus of my program is for my athletes to follow something I call the “PR Philosophy”. We never focus on first place, our goal is always to achieve Personal Records in competition and in life. This is an intangible that truly gives self-fulfillment long after the glory of being a champion fades. Moreover, this mentality becomes a way-of-being that stays with them after their athletic career.
I teach and coach what I am most passionate about and love knowing that I am helping others the same way my teachers and coaches helped me, it’s what gives me purpose. I am a public servant and know first-hand how badly my students need me to give my all. To give some sort of context about me, I come from a single parent home and helped raise my two younger sisters. I’ll just say that we lived through very hard circumstances and that I’ve seen things that I would not wish on anyone; drugs, alcohol, domestic violence, etc. Were it not for my coaches and journalism teacher, Armando Rodriguez “Rod”, my life would have turned out very differently and I would probably be in prison right now. My coaches pushed me to reach my athletic potential and ensured that my hard work would not go unnoticed by college coaches. Rod was the teacher that pushed me to be a better person and believed in me at a time when I didn’t know how to believe in myself.
I often get asked why I do what I do, the typical teacher answer is that I do it for the kids. The truth is that I want to be their Rod or Coach Garcia! True success for me is seeing one of my students presenting a marketing strategy to a CEO with the skills I taught them or having one of my throwers sign a letter of intent for an athletic scholarship. This is my way of paying it forward, my way of doing for others what was done for me. I am a product of PSJA and honored to do my small part to make it better!
About Eloy Garza
* PSJA North High School Class of 2003