Montgomery school makes a difference teaching two languages

Posted by: Bryan Henry - bio | email

MONTGOMERY, AL (WSFA) - If you ever wondered what fiery passion looks and feels like, it's Gilbert Duenas.

"Excellente!" Duenas shouts during class in the library at Brewbaker Primary in Montgomery.

Duenas is 54 years old, retired military and a third grade teacher at Brewbaker, and so much more.

"I was born and raised in a family where my parents only had a second grade education," said Duenas.

That motivating desire to give back. Blessed with a gift:

"I'm blessed with being bi-lingual," said Duenas said.

Duenas teaches some of his fellow teachers Spanish and the parents of Hispanic children who attend Brewbaker Primary English.

Why? Well, because school officials say Brewbaker Primary has the largest Hispanic student population in the school district; 140 out of 840.

And so Gilbert Duenas figures.. why not (?) since life has given him so much.

"I'm the first generation born in the United States. I just finished a 30-year career in the military. Setting an example because if the child can see them continuing to learn that to me would be so wonderful," Duenas said.

Tara Batson thinks Duenas is wonderful. Batson felt like she needed Spanish since she has 3 Hispanic students in her class. She says Duenas has high expectations who makes learning fun and delivers with a touch of joy.

"He connects it to something and always relates it to other things," Batson said.

Isauro Rodriguez is getting the same lesson too in English.

"It's very difficult. It's good for me," said Rodriguez.

So much like his perpetual motion, learning never stops for Gilbert Duenas. Whether he's in the school library teaching two languages or commanding his third grade class to think and learn for life.

If you know someone who making a difference in their community, email Bryan Henry at with your suggestions.

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