Velasquez: From ‘terrible student’ to standout teacher

By KRIS REILLY, Editor

She now has a master’s degree, but Cory Velasquez says that once upon a time she was “a terrible student.”

Velasquez, the Lucerne Valley Elementary School Staff Member of the Month, says she was more concerned with playing volleyball than doing schoolwork when she attended high school in San Luis Obispo County. She then went on to junior college in Cupertino, but academics still took a backseat to volleyball.

“I was supposed to be getting an education,” Velasquez said.

After her two years in junior college were up, she wondered what she was going to do with her life.

“I was like, ‘Oh my gosh, I need to do something with me,’ ” Velasquez said. “And so then I joined the Marine Corps. ... I just needed discipline and self-control.”

After the Marines, Velasquez completed her bachelor’s degree, followed by a teaching credential and a master’s. In teaching, she found an opportunity to help kids who might be struggling in school, as she once did.

Her husband’s job led her to Apple Valley, and Velasquez is now in her second year at LVES. She’s a specialized academic instructor, teaching children from multiple grades who may need a little extra help.

Fellow specialized academic instructor Vici Miller said Velasquez’s attitude is perfect for the students she works with.

“A lot of times the kids feel very defeated, and Cory is so positive; she can always make them feel like ‘I can do this,’ ” Miller said. “A lot of times the comment kids have after working with her is, ‘I didn’t know I could do this!’ ... She is an absolutely fantastic team player.”