Senior Master Sergeant (retired) Fernando Adams, has worked for Topeka Public Schools since August 2012, as an Aerospace Science Instructor at Highland Park High School. In addition to the teaching position, Adams, one of the Air Force JROTC instructors at the school, has also coached the softball team, in addition to helping start the junior varsity program at the school. Before starting his position for TPS he served active duty in the United States Air Force for 26 and a half years, working at construction and facility management, where he was stationed all over the world, including stops in Oklahoma, Illinois, Mississippi, South Dakota, Guam, Korea, Japan, Portugal and Germany. Adams is a graduate of the University of Maryland and is originally from Jackson, Miss., coming to Kansas when his son was a student at Kansas State University.
"I'm from a large southern family, I was number eight of eleven kids, all of my older siblings graduated high school and went straight to college, I broke the mold and joined the military. I liked to travel and explore and 26 years later here I am. Veterans Day for me is a recognition of others, I don't see myself as a veteran because I'm still serving by teaching the kids. I want people to have that recognition because most people don't realize how many life events that you miss when you are on active duty like funerals, births and weddings. I want others to recognize what other people have to sacrifice while they served. By teaching I am still actively serving these students and this community. I know these kids are in challenging situations and my job is to be consistent with them. I'm teaching them to be reliable and honest, I want them to know that integrity means something. I hope they learn that to be a good leader you have to be a good follower. You have to be a good listener. When you say you are going to do something, do what you say you are going to do. Show up when you say you are going to show up. People will follow you, if you get out there and roll up your sleeves with them."
"I tell students that they need to try something for themselves. Whether it's ROTC, different classes, food or a movie. Try it for yourself. If you don't like it then at least you know you tried it and you made your mind up for yourself instead of listening to what others say."