Overcoming the odds and becoming the new assistant principal at Portage High School has inspired Roberta Garcia to work hard to help make her community a better place. Garcia was born and raised in Hammond, where she attended George Rogers Clark High School. She later earned a bachelor’s degree in psychology, and a master’s degree in Education from Purdue University Northwest in Hammond. The roads were not paved with gold.
“Pursuing my education was difficult for me. I was working full time and taking classes and raising a family,” Garcia said. But she stayed persistent with her overall life goals life and reached the finish line.
“I had to keep pushing through it, and it was overwhelming at times. Eventually, life fell into place, and I was able to find a balance to complete all of my education.”
Garcia also serves as the administrative liaison to the guidance department at Portage High School, a job aligned with her personal values.
“I have always been interested in helping others, and I love to learn new things. Education always seemed to be the perfect fit for me,” she said.
Garcia’s experience in the educational field is complimented by the passion she has for giving back to the community to make it a better place.
“I think people should know about ways to contribute to their communities and the services offered,” she said.
Garcia hopes to instill the same persistence and determination in the students she guides.
“One thing I hope to do is help kids to realize their potential and have faith in the differences they can make in the world.”
Working in education for 20 years, Garcia has encountered many other educators who have guided, supported and given her advice that she cherishes dearly. Her previous position as a counselor at Valparaiso High School provided her a lot of experience in reaching students effectively.
“When you are in a particular place for that long, you get to experience so many different styles of teaching and I tried to absorb as many techniques and strategies as I could. As a counselor, I learned from every department, every subject, and every level, from administrators, food service, finances, special education, and my own team of counselors,” she said.
Being influenced by so many people in her field, Garcia believes it takes a village to raise a child, often taking that same approach in her position.
“I really feel I am the product of a village molding and raising me,” she said. “I feel Portage has a lot to offer its residents. There are many opportunities for our students to learn from businesses and organizations to help Portage grow to its fullest.”
In addition to overseeing the implementation of all testing including the ISTEP, ILEARN, PSAT, AP and the NWEA, Garcia address any concerns that pertain to the 10th grade class.
“We have so many talented students. It is important for all of them to find their niche in life and any guidance or direction I can help them with will make this world better.”
To all her students, she advises, “Do not procrastinate or doubt yourself. Develop a plan and do it.”
Garcia keeps busy these days as she gets acclimated to her new position, but likes to spend her spare time with her kids, and visiting new places. She finds solace at how the stars and moon light up her yard at night.