“I absolutely loved my time at CBU! I made friends that I will have for life, and Dr. Palmer, Dr. Carriere, and Dr. Leib are incredible. I sometimes wish I could go back and take more classes with them.”

Ramon Ramirez moved to the U.S. from Mexico when he was just three years old and enrolled at CBU as a DACA recipient. “I like to say that I’m Mexican at birth and American at heart,” he told a local news reporter once. “America is my homeland. This is my home country. On paper, I’m as American as you can get. I watch football on Saturdays and Sundays. I went to college. I joined a fraternity. I have friends here. I speak English.”

As a History major, Ramon was also an active member of the Kappa Sigma fraternity and Phi Alpha Theta History Honor Society. During his senior year, he also volunteered with Latino Memphis and as an ESL Tutor at Granville T. Woods Academy. For spring break that year, he decided he wanted to visit New Orleans. “I had never been, so I popped into the office of my advisor, Dr. Marius Carriere, to ask if he had any recommendations since I knew he was from Louisiana,” Ramon recalls. “Well, he told me he was a bit tied up grading midterms but would email a couple of places to try out. The next day, he sent me a full itinerary that was about two pages long. It just reminded me how much the professors really care and of the connections you make with them during your time at CBU.”

After he graduated from CBU in 2016 with his BA in History, Ramon began working with Green Dot Public Schools Tennessee in the Hickory Hill neighborhood in Memphis. He spent a couple of years as a classroom teacher and soccer coach at Kirby Middle School, where he was named Kirby Middle School Staff Member of the Year for the 2016-17 school year. He was promoted in 2018 to School Operations Manager at Bluff City High School. He oversees the school’s day-to-day operations, such as finances and auditing, and works as a liaison between the school and community partners.

Despite no longer being in the classroom, Ramon remains very involved with the students and serves as a Boys 2 Men Club volunteer on campus, volunteers with the football team, and mentors to all students. Ramon also serves as the school’s main translator and ensures that the non-English speaking community is taken care of and always feels welcome. As a former undocumented student and DACA recipient, he is quick to tell the immigrant community at Bluff City High School that a college education is available to everyone, regardless of their legal status.

The main lesson I learned at CBU was ‘Enter to Learn, Leave to Serve.’ Even as a school leader, I remember to always listen to others and to take what I learn and apply it to what I do in my profession and in my everyday life.