Faces of 501: Sal Cruz
Sal Cruz has worked for Topeka Public Schools for the past 25 years, serving as a substitute teacher, paraprofessional, van driver and is best known as a drum line coach for Topeka High School. This school year he took a step forward in his career by becoming a certified teacher, working at Randolph and Stout Elementary, Robinson Middle School and Topeka High School as a band teacher.
“I spend a lot of time, work, dedication and commitment to the kids in the program, I am so lucky that God has placed on my heart the desire to teach and reach students. I use the drums as the tool used to inspire students to strive to become better people and instill pride in themselves when they succeed. There is nothing more powerful than the feeling of believing in yourself. It is not always an easy road and most do not continue with music, but many become successful in life because of the lessons they have had being a part of our drum line program. I feel the lessons taught in being a part of the drum line where all students must work as a team is an important skill in preparing students for their future no matter where life leads them. The time is right for me to become a certified teacher. So many opportunities have been missed because I have not had the credentials needed to be accepted as certified teacher. My son just graduated from the University of Kansas and my daughter is headed to Emporia State University and I decided it was time for me to get the degree that will allow me to do the many things that are important to me. The performance degree that I hold from Washburn University has not allowed me to be where my heart has been leading me and that is into the classrooms of Topeka Public Schools as a teacher.”
“I am impressed with the diversity I see not only in the student body of Topeka Public Schools, but with the staff as well. I grew up in Oakland, went to elementary schools in USD 501 and graduated from Topeka High. I know the students that I will be teaching because I was one of them and I feel I can relate to them. Many of them will have obstacles and challenges to face, but I want them to know that the Topeka Public Schools and their outstanding professionals can be their loudest advocate. I tell students, don't sit on the sidelines and just wait for your time in school to pass. Become involved in your school, take advantage of every opportunity available, and make your school life matter. It truly is what shapes your future. Ignore the fear of failure and try new things. It is better to try than to live with regret.”