Drake Rivas ’19 follows his own path to teaching career

May 4, 2021
Megan Schneider '22

Drake Rivas wasn’t your traditional Saint Michael’s College student. He graduated in 2019 as a student veteran in his late 30’s, with a double major in Secondary Education and History. Now 39, married with three daughters and living in San Antonio, Texas – where he moved shortly after graduation – Rivas is a social studies teacher at Luther Burbank High School teaching World Geography, Government, and Economics. Rivas found virtue in his Liberal Arts education here at Saint Michael’s and is seeing its positive impacts on his life and his career.

Megan Schnieder recently interviewed Rivas about his unique path to his degree and how St. Mike’s helped him create his own way to his current career.

Why did you choose your major?

I knew that when I enrolled at Saint Michael’s College that I wanted to be in Education. I selected History, as it was a subject that always interested me through my primary and secondary education path.

What was the process of selecting a major like for you?

I did not change either of my majors once I enrolled. Both departments were very supportive and offered various opportunities for me to seek advice from the professors throughout my academic years there.  These support channels helped me maintain my majors and help my goals in focus.

How do you see the Liberal Arts education benefiting you in your life today?

As a teacher, I often use some of the courses and concepts from my Liberal Arts education in the classroom. It has helped me form a better relationship with my students in my classes. I know that a Liberal Arts background has given me added dimensions in which to approach the work I create and assign for my students.

What did you learn from SMC and your professors that you may apply to your work today?

Empathy. It is a skill I exercise every day with my students, understanding them and their situations better so I can make a positive impact and form good relationships with them.

What is something SMC did for you that is most memorable to you?

SMC made me feel welcome. Ken O’Connell at the Military Enrollment Center helped me from before my first day at SMC. He offered unending support during my time there and I benefited from it so much. He continues to offer any help and support he can, most recently when the winter storm hit my area severely. I know this is indicative of all the faculty at SMC and it has helped me immensely.

What is some advice you would give to future grads of St. Michael’s?

Enjoy your time at SMC. There is so much to do there and in Vermont, explore it all.

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