Honoring the principal of a South Tucson school rich in Hispanic history
By Kim Martinez
As a former teacher of music education and performing arts, principal Minh Solorzano, is right at home at St. John the Evangelist Catholic School in Tucson. Located in a low-income area of south Tucson, Hispanic culture is a point of pride for the children who attend the school.
“We are rich in mariachi and folklórico dance,” says Minh. “Our students perform all over the state, which helps them blossom and creates pride for themselves and their families.”
St. John is almost entirely made up of Hispanic students, the majority of the kids with English as their second language.
“Part of building a strong school culture is building a relationship with the families and realizing every family has a story,” says Minh. “My favorite part of my job is addressing the challenges of our school.”
St. John is part of the ACE Notre Dame Academies, a network of private schools that serve underprivileged communities. Many of the students are able to attend St. John thanks to Arizona’s education savings account (ESA) program. The ESA program allows children who attend failing public schools to instead use their state-allocated education tax dollars to switch to a private school like St. John.
“We are very blessed to have the opportunity to use school choice, it’s just so important to the parents of our children,” adds Minh. “Many weren’t educated on their options before but after learning about the ESA program, it opened their eyes to the opportunities available for their children.”
St. John students get to learn in an environment that celebrates their culture because their school is guided by a principal who is passionate about both their educations and their heritage.
“I’ve just grown to love the families, it’s a very tight knit community!
October is National Principal’s Month and throughout the month, AFC will share stories from principals of choice schools across the country to celebrate their accomplishments and the accomplishments of principals nationwide.