Spanish Teacher & Admissions Assistant
College: University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee
Major: Education, ESL
Favorite Class in High School: Spanish
Dariana Rios first encountered St. Thomas More as a middle school student searching for a high school to attend. St. Thomas More won her over during a shadow visit, and she fell in love with the small class sizes and welcoming environment. Years later as a senior at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, she returned to STM to complete her student teaching with World Languages Chair Ann Marie Dorn, who had inspired Rios to pursue Spanish education.
Rios enjoys teaching her students about the rich diversity that exists within the many different cultures who speak the Spanish language. In her classes, Rios picks a ‘song of the week’ to introduce students to music that helps them learn the language while developing a deeper appreciation of culture. She chooses songs outside the mainstream so her students can branch out and make new cultural connections. She will sometimes notice her students singing those same songs in the hallways.
Throughout her career, the piece of advice that continues to resonate with her is: “be easy on yourself.” Rios wants her students to know that she is also human; she encounters roadblocks and tries to forgive herself when she struggles with difficult situations. She encourages her students to take things “one step at a time”–to step away from social media and from life to take a breath and acknowledge how far they have come.
In addition to teaching Spanish classes, Rios also assists Mr. Tony Mane (TM ’06) in the admissions department. In her admissions role, she represents STM at grade school visits and fairs, talking with parents and students about the benefits of an STM education.
Rios, whose brothers, Chris and Matthew, graduated from STM in 2015 and 2019, is most grateful for her mentors, family, and peers who believed in her and gave her the tools she needed to get to where she is today, and she hopes to do that for her students.