CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas — As we continue to celebrate Hispanic Heritage Month, we're highlighting someone who spent 44 years teaching and being a leader in education in the Coastal Bend.
Danny Noyola grew up in Corpus Christi's Molina neighborhood. He said when he was 4 years old, he and his family would get paid a $1.25 for every 100 pounds of cotton they picked.
“It was very hot, we would wear them long sleeves, white shirts with the big hats to try and protect ourselves from the sun," he said. "And sometimes we would have protective gloves and sometimes we wouldn’t. And our hands would be callused and tough, and of course, that taught us great work ethic."
Noyola said the great work ethic continued into his career in education.
“A journey and a passion for education pretty much always starts with your first teachers, which were my parents," he said.
Noyola graduated from West Oso High School, then went on to earn his college degrees at Del Mar College and Texas A&I University -- what is now Texas A&M University-Kingsville. He received his superintendency certification from Corpus Christi State University, or what is now TAMU-CC.
He has occupied many roles during his career.
“As a teacher, as a coach, as an assistant principal, a principal at two high schools here -- West Oso and Miller High School -- and the superintendent of schools at West Oso ISD," he said. "And my last three years I was the administrative hearing officer for CCISD."
While teaching at Moody High School, Noyola created a program called Civic-Minded Students. The program was created to help improve the quality of life on the Westside and Central region of town, and teach the students how to be good citizens.
“Just a blessed beautiful career that allowed me to, you know, be involved and make a difference with the thousands of students and their parents," he said.
Noyola said Hispanic Heritage Month means learning and wanting to know more about the traditions, language and culture passed on from generation to generation.
“And I have always told my students that it is very important to never forget where you come from, and its always important to know where you are going, and of course, who you are," he said.
Among Noyola's heroes include his family doctor and Hispanic civil rights leader, Hector Perez Garcia, who he said should be remembered this month.
“He did many things to improve veterans affairs and the situation of the veteran the much neglected veterans," he said. “He’s definitely a mentor; he was a friend. I worked with him. I loved him. He was a family doctor, but more importantly, he was the greatest civil-rights leader of our times and, of course, I wanted to be like Dr. Hector."