When Ricardo Delgado was a senior in high school, he planned to attend one of the four-year universities he had been admitted to. However, after a sudden change in living situation and some other personal issues, in the end he didn’t have the financial means to attend his dream school. Not willing to pause his educational goals, he looked for an alternative and his search brought him to Harold Washington College. The downtown location was easy to reach from his home in Humboldt Park and later the Ukrainian Village neighborhoods, the classes were affordable, and he could manage his class schedule with his work schedule in mind.

It was during this time that Ricardo also became involved with La Casa Norte, an organization that provides housing resources and opportunities to youth and families who are at-risk or experiencing homelessness in Chicago. He not only received housing assistance, but was inspired to join their Marathon Team to fundraise for the organization, and has since been the recipient of academic scholarships as well.

Growing up, Ricardo had his sights set on becoming a lawyer. He was interested in politics, history, and political science, so it seemed like a good career path for him. But when he was able to get some experience in the legal field through volunteer work, he started to rethink his path. Luckily, around the same time, Ricardo started working for Gear Up, embedded in CPS high school classrooms as a tutor and supporting students in their transition to college. It was there he discovered a love of teaching, of being in a classroom, and of helping students reach their goals. He now knew that he belonged in a classroom, and started working toward his degree in education.

While he was working to help others, Ricardo stayed focused on his education and ultimately earned his associate degree from Harold Washington College in the spring of 2015. He transferred to North Park University, where he ran competitive cross-country and track, and graduated in December of 2018 with a double major in history and secondary education, along with a middle school certification.

Ricardo now works for CPS in a second grade classroom, and is working toward his ELL and special education endorsements. He is thrilled to be able to blend his love of supporting students, his interest in politics and history, and even his passion for sports and coaching into one career.

“I’m so happy – I’m living my dreams of teaching and coaching. I enjoy the job and have great people to work with. Having a large classroom can be a challenge, but the students are all great,” said Ricardo.

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