At Memorial High School in the Edgewood Independent School District, biology teacher Stephen Fleenor says that his job is not to teach.
As the Biology AP and Pre AP teacher, he challenges students every day. But he'll tell you, he's not here to teach.
"The whole reason I'm here is not to be a teacher, it's to try to inspire them to become better versions of themselves. I do not seek to teach; I seek to inspire, empower, and change the world," Fleenor said.
"He's such an optimistic person, that's why he inspires me to do more and achieve my goals and don't stop dreaming," ninth-grader David Reyes said.
"He cares, he actually care about his students," 11th-grader Jasmine Huerta said.
This is his third year in the classroom, all at Memorial High School.
"Edgewood is my first job. Within the first week, I was in love with these kids. I could see the potential and I see the inspiration behind their eyes, and that's all I need every day to come to work," Fleenor said.
With a PhD in biology from Oxford University, Dr. Fleenor could teach anywhere or do anything.
His heart led him to the Edgewood ISD and to these teenagers.
"This community is dramatically underserved. We have a lot of young people who could become very powerful individuals. They have the potential in them to become leaders in our country, and social issues and economic issues are standing in the way of that. And I believe it should be unleashed,” Fleenor said.
"He tells us every day to never give up what you want to do," ninth-grader Alondra Delgado said.
"He always encourages us to do our best and no matter what we can do anything. I will try my best to become a better person and Mr. Fleenor tells us to do better and not just for yourself," ninth-grader Josiah Valle said.
"My goal for each student is that students experience enough growth as a student and as a thinker and as a learner that that student believes in him or herself to do anything, anything they want to, anything they set their mind to,” Fleenor said. “I want them to believe in themselves, there's a lot of brilliance in this world. I really want all of my students to end up believing that there's no such thing as impossible, there's just ‘yet to be done.’”
While he grew up in San Antonio and attended school in the Schertz-Cibolo-Universal City Independent School District, Edgewood ISD is now home.
"It's here and nowhere else," Fleenor said.
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