KTLA honored a local teacher on Tuesday for National Teacher Appreciation Day.
Jason Torres-Rangel, an 11th-grade English teacher at Roosevelt High School in Boyle Heights, has had a big year.
Not only has he been recognized as one of California’s Top 5 Teachers of the Year, but he was also named California’s nominee for National Teacher of the Year.
Additionally, he just came back from being honored at the White House where he had a very special exchange with Vice President Kamala Harris.
The pair took a selfie and she posted it to her official Instagram account.
“As a proud student of California schools, I know firsthand that teachers like Jason change lives,” the VP wrote in her caption.
That didn’t end there.
After they met, he explained to her how his mom is a huge fan.
Within moments, Harris was on FaceTime with Torres-Rangel’s mother.
Teaching is essentially in his blood, as both of his parents are teachers.
However, it wasn’t until he met a mentor while in college that he decided to pursue this career path.
“He saw something in me and said ‘You would be a really great teacher,'” he explained on the KTLA 5 Morning News.
Torres-Rangel then studied abroad in Kenya during the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks and he helped a teacher create a lesson plan to help the students process the tragedy.
“I saw the transformative power of education and it was like a lightbulb went on and I was like ‘When I go back to the U.S. I have to make my community a little bit better than it already is,'” he confessed.
The educator is doing just that.
His students speak highly of him as he guides them throughout the journey of high school, which can be tough. To foster the connection, he revealed that he leads with “humor and joy” and just being himself.
“They keep me young. They ask the big questions and challenge my thinking every day, that’s really the best part of the job,” he gushed. “No period is the same and every day is different.”
For aspiring teachers, he offered this piece of advice:
“We always need teachers! Please consider the profession,” he said. “If you’ve ever tutored a niece, or a nephew, or a sibling and you’ve witnessed that lightbulb moment with their homework, maybe it’s for you!”
Torres-Rangel is also a big fan of the Los Angeles Dodgers.
To thank him for his service, KTLA presented the educator with a special gift. We’re sending him to a game this season to watch the Boys in Blue!