The Student News Site of Saint Thomas Aquinas High School

The Raider Review

The Raider Review

The Student News Site of Saint Thomas Aquinas High School

The Raider Review

The Raider Review

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Mr. Balmaceda and His Teachings at STA

Mr.+Balmaceda+and+His+Teachings+at+STA

St Thomas Aquinas High School (STA) was established in 1936. Over the past 87 years, STA has had 3 national blue ribbon awards (1984, 1996, 2022). The National Blue Ribbon Schools Program recognizes public and private elementary, middle, and high schools based on their overall academic excellence or their progress in closing achievement gaps among student subgroups. Not only do the students have a huge impact towards the school, so do the teachers. When interviewing Mr. Alfonso Balmaceda, a theology teacher at STA, this is what he had to say.

What is your educational background?

“My educational background includes a bachelor’s degree in administration from Florida International University (FIU). I also have a bachelor’s in Philosophy from St John Vianny Seminary and I hold a master’s degree in religious education from St Thomas University (STU)”

What got you interested in theology?

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“I’ve always been a man of God. I was a Christian missionary when I was 18 to 22. I’ve always been involved in the church in some way and I’ve always wanted to further the mission of the church in this world. I thought I should do it from the administrative side of the church, and I did for a while, because that was my background and that was the field that I was in. The times that I got to teach Sunday school at St Michael the Archangel Catholic School was like a breath of fresh air and studying the masters further confirmed that God was moving me towards the field of education, and I enjoyed it.”

Why did you want to teach at STA?

“I remember the first time I stepped foot on this campus back in 2017: I worked as coordinator and building and property for the Archdiocese of Miami and was assisting; also building a database for the Office of Catechesis which is the Office of Religious Instruction at the Archdiocese of Miami. I saw this school was growing a lot in technology; what impacted me was that it looked like such a technology driven school and I love to incorporate technology into what I do and I loved to see the flatscreen T.V’s in the hallways and in the classrooms. I told the director of religious education at the time that if I got to do high school over, I would love to go to this school. Why I came to teach here was because I was getting my master’s in religious education and my friend Dr. Robertson was also a friend of the deans here at STA, and it was through him that the contact was established and they were in need of two theology teachers.” 

What do you love about teaching here at STA?

“I love my students. I think anyone that has been in my classroom knows that I genuinely care about the students. I have so much fun; being able to share my faith with the students, and do so in such a systematic way, and then be able to relate to them in a more personal way -and I think that’s where ministry comes. To establish relationships with my students feels great knowing that they can feel free to come to my classroom and talk to me about anything. I love when previous students of mine come back to the classroom and revisit me and see how they have grown. It feels great knowing I was able to do my part and help them grow into the men and women that they are now. So, the best part about being here are my students and being able to relate to them and teach them and be able to serve each and everyone of them and be there for them. 

How do you think you have impacted the students here at STA?

“I think I have impacted the students here at STA in a positive way. I love seeing the students grow over time and the lord has given me those blessings to follow up on my students when they leave my classroom. I think the way that I impact them is if they listen to me and give me a chance, I hope that I have encouraged them and motivated them to give a chance to God and to understand themselves.”

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