SAN DIEGO — The San Diego Honda Dealers are celebrating Hispanic Heritage Month across San Diego County. In this Zevely Zone, I visited San Diego State University for a special classroom surprise. "This is so exciting, Dr. Nate is one of my favorite professors at SDSU," said graduate student Mirelle Schwalbach.
The pack of mischief was heading to crash the classroom of Dr. Nate Rodriguez. He's a professor who uses the life work of the late pop star Selena to make every student feel seen. "I heard that he is a great professor who further educates his students in the Latino and Hispanic culture," said Zully Tellez. She and the San Diego Honda Dealers collected all of the favorite items of what may be the school's favorite teacher. "So, we have these donuts from Barrio Donas, that's his favorite donuts place. We have a gift card for Barrio Dogs which is his favorite restaurant, and these are Selena doll collectibles," said Zully.
Professor Rodriguez was about to also receive thousands of dollars' worth of recorders for his students so every voice can be heard. "I think he will be blown away," said Dr. Temple Northup. He is the director of SDSU's School of Journalism. "Dr. Nate, as everyone calls him, is one of the most innovative and engaging professors the School of Journalism has if not that all of SDSU has."
The San Diego Honda Dealers walked into Dr. Nate's class. "Hi Professor Nate, how are you? In support of Hispanic Heritage Month, we want to thank you for all that you do," they said. Dr. Nate teaches a class that builds cultural bridges. "I grew up in San Antonio, Texas and I have always listened to Selena since I was little. She is someone who has inspired me to be more comfortable with my identity growing up in a household that was both Spanish and English speaking I never really felt one or the other."
As for the Selena collectibles? "This is the one I don't have," said Dr. Nate with a big smile. "We also heard that you don't have the proper equipment with your students to host podcasts, so we brought you a class set of recorders," said Zully. One voice that will be heard is from broadcast journalism student Jennifer Aguilar. "It's just amazing to see how there is representation," said Jennifer. "Like as Dr. Nate is a first gen student, like myself I am a first gen student and I look up to him and I can actually make it and make my dreams come true."
Dr. Nate definitely didn't know this surprise was coming. "I had no idea I was like what is happening what is going on?" he said. It was no big surprise when the professor announced the recorders were for everyone along with the sweets. "Anybody want a donut?" I asked.
Let's hear it for Dr. Nate!
Dr. Nate was surprised with three thousand dollars in gifts. The donuts are all gone, but he still has a gift certificate to Barrio Dogs, his favorite Mexican hot dog restaurant.