Ms. Y. Garcia, Teaching at Her Alma Mater.


Math department chairperson Ms. Y. Garcia (center) leads Honoria, a club she first joined as a Miami High student.

By Helen Lugo , Staff Writer

She went to Miami High as a student and graduated in 2012, and after some big work experience in banking, she has come back to her alma mater where she teaches math and serves as chairperson of her department.    

From Sting to Gator 

    Ms. Yesenia Garcia attended the University of Florida, and she loved it there. She said, “I got the chance to find my passion and study something I love as well as making lifelong friends and connections along the way.” She also learned how to be independent there and did very well in her classes as she graduated with a 3.4 GPA. 

   She also changed her major quite a few times. “After changing my major about 4 times, I ended up graduating with a Bachelor of Science in business finance. It was rigorous, but very rewarding. I had some great professors along the way,” she said. 

From banker to teacher 

   Ms. Garcia used to work with a large bank as an operations manager in Jacksonville before becoming a teacher. “I was simply not happy,” she said.  “The environment was too stuffy, and I felt like I couldn’t be myself. I thought it was because I wasn’t in Miami anymore, so I left and came back to the 305. I was able to land a ‘dream’ job as a financial analyst with a great company. Yet I was still unhappy. I felt as if my job had no real purpose, and I wasn’t seeing the reward of my job. I wanted to be somewhere where I felt like my job was making a difference in the world, so what better place than a school!”  

Life as a Miami High student 

    Ms. Garcia made many high school memories, but her favorite ones were playing Harry Potter for Honoria’s homecoming parade competition during her senior year, and winning president of the Honoria club which she explained was “One of the best feelings ever as well! I loved the friendships I made and the leadership skills I attained.”  

    If she could relive high school, she would’ve maybe been part of a sports team. “Other than that,” she said, “I try to live my life with no regrets. I was always someone who thought about the consequences of decisions before I made them. And even when I did make mistakes, it was OK! It’s all part of the process and all part of being human! My mistakes in life are what helped me grow up and be the person I am today!” 

Teaching math and sponsoring of Honoria 

    She became a math teacher because it is closely related to her finance degree. She has been teaching for 3 years now, and she says she wouldn’t change it for the world. She loves teaching, but what she loves most about it is “knowing that sometimes I am the only one who gives these kids a smile every day and that even if I can make a little difference in their lives, I somehow helped them.”  Ms. Garcia also likes how “Math is very straight forward. 2+2 will always be 4.”  

    Ms. Garcia is not only a great math teacher, but she is also the Honoria club sponsor because she was a Honoria alumna as well. What she loves most about this club is “It’s love for Miami High and how it supports its events.” She said that Honoria is worth joining because you make lifelong friends and learn about leadership. Honoria is also unique to Miami High. 

    Ms. Garcia enjoys being a fellow teacher with some of her former teachers such as Mr. Chaine, Ms. Puentes, Dr. Hueck, Ms. Benavides, Ms. Branch and Dr. DeNight. “The individuals I had as teachers are still role models for me today! And it’s great to know that they have my back and are always there willing to help.  It was also nice to see friendly faces when I got here. They welcomed me with open arms into the family and I very much love and appreciate that. It’s amazing to also see why they loved their jobs so much.  As a student, I never saw myself being a teacher and always thought that the teachers I had were so special for doing something so selflessly. Now that I am a teacher as well, I can see why they loved their jobs so much! I am grateful for the amazing teachers I had while I was here who helped me build my path to life.” 

Life outside school 

     She was born and raised in Miami, on December 19th making her a Sagittarius. In her free time, she enjoys CrossFit, buying plants, and traveling. Ms. Garcia says that she had a great childhood experience. “Despite growing up in a single parent household, I felt that my mom worked really hard to make sure her kids were always happy,” she said. “That’s why she is my role model and best friend.”