• August 20, 2016

Graduate Student?S Passion Leads Him To Teach Students Living In Poverty

Riverside, Calif. (June 22, 2016) – Michael Deatherage, a California Baptist University education graduate student, wants to make a difference in the lives of students living in poverty. He recently took his first step in fulfilling this passion by joining Teach For America (TFA), a nonprofit organization that recruits individuals to become teachers in low-income communities.

Deatherage will depart for Kailua-Kona, Hawaii, next month to teach fifth-grade students. He will complete his graduate degree through the Online and Professional Studies program at CBU. 

Deatherage realized that many people might think he will be living in paradise, but he said it is not all palm trees and surfing. The cost of living is high and there are pockets of poverty in Hawaii. 

Deatherage believes he has a specific message for these students: "Don't give up on your dreams…be that person that you have always dreamed about being."

Deatherage can relate to living in poverty. When he was a child in Texas, his family lost everything when a tornado destroyed his home. 

"I know that there are these kids who (are in situations) like I was, who probably have no clue that they can [succeed in] school," he said.

Deatherage's own road to success in academics was a journey. He dropped out of high school at 17 to work. Then he joined the Marines in hopes of building a military career. While serving in Iraq, however, he suffered injuries from a rocket attack that hit his Humvee. The injuries resulted in a medical discharge.

After his injury, a new passion was sparked in his life—a desire to teach.

Deatherage earned his undergraduate degree in English at CBU. He is set to earn his master's degree in the fall.

"I think CBU helped stoke the fire, that passion, of being able to be who you are," he said.

Along with his message of hope, his inspirational life story will be a source of motivation for his students.

"I want to reach students who may not have ever been reached or have listened to too many wrong people. What I want my students to know is [they should] never stop trying," he said.