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Wildcat Chronicle

The student news site of West Chicago Community High School

Wildcat Chronicle

The student news site of West Chicago Community High School

Wildcat Chronicle

Humans of WEGO: Finding one’s purpose

SRC teaching assistant Blanca Ruiz has allowed faith to guide her journey in and out of the classroom.
Ruiz poses with her fellow Student Resource Center teachers several years ago. She is now celebration her fifteenth year at WCCHS. (Photo courtesy of Blanca Ruiz)

There is a caring teacher assistant in room 1117 at WEGO. She had an unexpected destination for her career, but now, she loves the work she does, and enjoys spending her time helping others.

Blanca Ruiz was born in Mexico City and was raised in Nezahualcoyotl. She spent most of her childhood in Mexico, which she describes as very different from that of the US. 

Ruiz is a proud WEGO alum who never expected to teach at her alma mater (Photo courtesy of Blanca Ruiz)

“I grew up living  in a poor community. We had morning and afternoon school, I would go to the one in the morning, and back then, we would have to go walking to school. I was always scared to go back home walking alone because there was a saying that if ‘they’ saw kids walking alone, they would steal them and take their organs and sell them to the United States,” Ruiz said. 

Nonetheless, she describes her childhood as a “happy” one. Ruiz finished elementary and middle school in Mexico, and then her parents came to the United States to work for a while. Eventually, her dad went back to Mexico to get Ruiz and her brother, and bring them to the US as well.

“I came here as a young adult, at the age of 12, not because I wanted to, but because I had to. I thought we were living good. My dad had come for me and my brother in Mexico. He took us to the United States as ‘visitors’ but then we ended up staying, and that’s when I became illegal here,” Ruiz said.

The change in geography was a fresh start for Ruiz, who found the experience a little nerve-wracking because everything was new to her. 

“I didn’t like it here at first because being a teenager, I felt like there were a lot of obstacles. I had to go to school and learn a new language, another culture, I didn’t have family around here, so all I would want to do is go to school and go back to my apartment,” Ruiz said.

She describes living in an apartment as being foreign as well, as she had never done so before.

“I got involved in sports like soccer and volleyball because I saw that they were free, and in Mexico everything was expensive so it was difficult to get involved in sports,” Ruiz said.

Even through the obstacles and changes, Ruiz knew she had a bright future ahead. She wanted to have a career in accounting after high school, and worked her junior and senior years in a bank. Eventually, she got fired her senior year.  

Joining the soccer team in high school allowed Ruiz to make friends and find her footing in the United States. (Photo courtesy of Blanca Ruiz)

“I got fired because I wasn’t 18 years old [which was the requirement] to become a supervisor, and me and my supervisor were constantly having issues,” Ruiz said. 

Ruiz continued to go to college, and ended up getting a job after high school with help of a friend. 

“One of my friends used to work in Currier [Elementary School], and she told me that the school needed a teacher assistant that spoke Spanish because there were a lot of Hispanics – the population was growing. So I stopped by to get an application – back then it was written applications. The person that gave me the application was the person that did my application, that ended up being the principal of the school, so that same day, she kinda interviewed me and I got hired on the spot. I always say it was meant to be,” Ruiz said. 

She started working at Currier in 2000 in the special education department, where she “learned a lot.” 

Ruiz moved to the Leman Middle School in 2002 and worked to supervise the cafeteria. Later, she was moved to hall monitor, where she strengthened her ability to read the students’ body language. 

In 2008, Ruiz was asked to join WEGO as an ISS monitor, and she worked in that position for a year before moving to the study hall room for two years.

“Being here, I ended up helping to sponsor Compass, which is a religious club that we started eight years ago and I am also representing the support staff as the president of the union,” Ruiz said.

Ever since Ruiz created a relationship with God, she says she started to see a lot of opportunities and open doors. She believes He made her stronger, and that she is the way she is because of the path He put her on. 

But her journey to God was not an easy one. She recalls dating an individual in college who broke her heart, and another she did not care about much. 

“But then I got pregnant. I was going to get an abortion because it wasn’t planned, and I was going to college, and that’s not what I needed at that time,” Ruiz said. 

It was then God spoke to her. 

“That night, when I found out that I was pregnant, I was telling myself that I didn’t need this. There was this song on the radio that came up in Spanish called ‘Hermoso Cariño’ by Vicente Fernandez, which is ‘precious gift’. That’s when I felt like what I was going to do was, first of all, selfish and was something that I was not giving an opportunity to come change my life. With that song, I felt like God was speaking to me. It became a gift because my daughter gave me purpose,” Ruiz said.

From there, she started seeing that God has a reason for everything. She says she knows her daughter gave her “the strength to become a better person,” and allowed her to become closer to God.

My mom is generous, creative, faithful, caring, loving, and happy. She is always offering to help out and is willing to put others in front of her. My favorite memories with her are when we do girls night with me and my little sister. We watch romcoms, do face masks, our nails, or our hair with just us girls. She definitely loves spending quality time with family,” daughter Mia Zahira Ruiz said.

Since then, Ruiz has dedicated herself to helping others, now as an SRC teaching assistant, and as the leader of Compass. 

Today, Ruiz is one of several club advisers for Compass, a group grounded in faith. (Photo courtesy of Blanca Ruiz)

“Compass is a way to share the good news that everybody deserves to know that you were created to do something good, and you don’t know your potential of what you can be and what you can do to help others until you get to know your Creator,” Ruiz said.

Club members recognize Ruiz as a “joyful” and “caring person”.

“When I met Mrs. Blanca in a club called Compass, she was very welcoming and wasted no time in getting us to participate in some sort of activity. One of Mrs. Blanca’s best qualities is her knowledge of how to give counsel. When in doubt, Mrs. Blanca is always there to talk with you through an issue or to help guide you in making the right decision,” senior Jonathan Calvillo-Morales said. 

Ruiz holds up a gift from a student that reads “Teaching is a work of heart.” (Photo courtesy of Blanca Ruiz)

Ruiz has now spent these past 15 years at WEGO working not only with students, but staff and parents as well. She found a career that she truly enjoys. 

“My highlights of working here have been getting to see teachers that helped me when I was a teenager here at WEGO, and now I’m working with them. Another one would be how I grew up seeing other teachers helping Hispanics, now I’m here helping you guys. I love working here to help others, and I also enjoy serving for my other colleagues. I like making them feel valued and being their voice, I like representing them,” Ruiz said. 

Ruiz’s colleagues can see the positive impact she makes on a daily basis in the Student Resource Center.

“She is a successful teacher because she makes great connections with the kids,” SRC teacher Beverly Kilgallen said.

Over the years, Ruiz has grown as an individual, and is now a voice for the students, and sometimes their parents. 

“Mrs. Blanca encourages us to be leaders and pushes us to grow in academics and to be better people,” Calvillo-Morales said. 

The desire to improve the lives of those around her is key in all that Ruiz does, whether at home or in the classroom/community. 

I see my mom’s purpose as being a mentor, like a teacher or guide. A lot of people, especially at the high school, go to her when they need help with school work or when dealing with personal issues. I think another part of her purpose was to work at WCCHS because she’s done a lot for students, staff, and parents in terms of guiding and helping them,” daughter Mia said.

Perhaps in some way, Ruiz’s journey to West Chicago Community High School was meant to be, whether that be a result of divine intervention or destiny.

“Being here at WEGO was not a coincidence, it had a purpose. Even though I know some kids come up to me and tell me that I have impacted their life, I think it has impacted my life and it makes me a better person everyday because I get to learn from you guys,” Ruiz said.

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Daniela Perez
Daniela Perez, Reporter
Senior Daniela Perez is a first-year reporter with the Chronicle. She enjoys walking outside with her dog, Santi, and spending most of her time with her friends. Daniela’s sister influences her the most because she is smart and motivates her to do better.
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  • lezli guerreroDec 15, 2023 at 6:58 pm

    best teacher ever !! she is always there for you whenever you need her:))

  • Debra ReynoldsDec 15, 2023 at 5:46 pm

    I can testify, Ms. Blanca is a real asset to everyone at West Chicago High School. As her former co-worker, I witnessed first hand how she loved her students. She made learning seem so easy and yet enjoyable. Love you forever, my friend and sister-in-Christ, Ms. Blanca

  • Mrs.BlancaDec 15, 2023 at 3:33 pm

    Gracias a Wildcat Chronicle y Daniela por este artículo es un honor. Gracias por sus comentarios a todos, se les quiere ❤️❤️

  • lolaDec 15, 2023 at 2:22 pm

    say mrs. blanca?????

  • GiselleDec 15, 2023 at 2:19 pm

    Mrs Blanca is one of the best teachers out there

  • caitlin gilmoreDec 15, 2023 at 2:19 pm

    mrs blanca ??

  • daisyDec 15, 2023 at 2:17 pm

    the best teacher everrr!! helps a lot in everything!

  • Kathryn DeJongDec 15, 2023 at 2:00 pm

    I love Blanca, she is amazing. This article perfectly describes her.

  • Caleb SalzmanDec 15, 2023 at 1:45 pm

    best teacher ever frfr

  • AlanDec 15, 2023 at 1:42 pm

    Wow ?

  • Arlin RoblesDec 15, 2023 at 1:39 pm

    Mrs Blanca is the best

  • Sherlyn HernandezDec 15, 2023 at 12:40 pm

    I love Ms.Blanca ??

  • AlexDec 15, 2023 at 12:40 pm

    Best person I love her