2012 Hero Story 5 – Lidia Reguerin: The following story was submitted by community member Roger Reguerin. Roger also provided a Spanish-language video, which is below the story.
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According to Roger: My hero is my mother Lidia Reguerin. She has inspired me and has provided me with encouragement, education and self confidence. As a child I was involved in a car accident and had brain damage. I was in a coma for two weeks. The Medical Doctors told her that I would have limited learning skills, however, she challenged the Medical Doctors and told them that their findings did not apply to me. My mother Lidia Reguerin immediately told me that I was a very normal child and made me feel special and told me I could do or reach any thing I desired. We went back home to Bolivia after she finished her graduate work at Stanford University. In Bolivia she did not tell the teachers of the severity of the accident and I was challenged to compete with the rest of the students my age. Subsequently I caught up with the School and graduated from High School and then continued my studies at FootHill College and earned my Bachelor of Science degree from San Jose State University. If she had not inspired me and would have listened to the Medical Doctors I would have been lead to believe that I was not capable of anything.
My mother Lidia Reguerin not only took care of me, my father and brothers and sister, but she went on to be the founder of Escuela Popular a Charter School and family learning center under the East Side School District. This learning center has been in existence for over 27 years and has transformed lives of individuals, particularly the Latino Community who had no access to education and much less the opportunity to learn the English language. Throughout the existence of Escuela Popular many individuals both men and women have been transformed and have gone on to College and are now teaching at Escuela Popular. The School serves elementary school children, High School for over 18 and under 18. Escuela Popular also provided quality child care while parents complete their education. The process was not easy as a Latino woman. Lidia encountered challeges such as racism, envy and every one telling her she was wasting her time. My mother Lidia never took no for an answer because she knew deep down that Education was the tool for success particularly for Latinos and specially for the Latino teenagers who were neglected and have a high drop-out rate. At the end of last year she was diagnosed with Lymphoma a type of cancer, and this has not stopped her, she continued teaching in spite of her weakness. Lidia said no illness can stop a cause. I am very proud to say that after a lengthy and aggressive treatment she is cancer free. Most of all her faith and prayers were also the contributing factor in her healing. As you can see she is my hero and of others too.
Video provided by Roger Reguerin: