When Diego Romero ’09 first stepped on to Hope College’s campus he was a freshman in high school participating in Hope’s TRIO Upward Bound Program. Having spent the next four years on campus in the program, Diego decided to attend Hope College to study Spanish Education. As a first-generation college student and former English Language Learner, Romero was aware of the struggles that he endured and knew many other students were in his same position. He wanted to help the next generation of students. From the start, he was deeply dedicated to education and wanted to make an impact in the lives of students to come.
While at Hope College Romero was an incredibly active student, involving himself in many co-curricular activities. As a freshman, he joined the Phelps Scholars Program – a living-learning community focused on global learning and diversity. He was a member of various clubs such as the Latino Student Union, the Outdoor Adventure Club, and The Book Club. Romero gained early valuable experience working with young students as a volunteer in the CASA program at Hope.
“I came from a poor family and understand the struggles, but as I was once told, education is the only way out and once you get it no one can take it away.”
Upon his graduation in 2009, Romero moved to Denver, Colorado where he spent the next two years teaching Spanish at Denver Public schools. Over the past ten years, Romero’s passion for his students and dedication to his profession has allowed his to move into leadership positions in the school district. His current role as an elementary school principal at a school where a majority of his students are English Language Learners has given him the opportunity to use his experiences to directly impact students each day. He is committed to giving each student the resources they need to reach their full potential. He believes strongly in the value of an education and life-long learning. He has exemplified this by earning a Masters Degree in Curriculum and Instruction for Linguistically Diverse Education as well as an Educational Leadership and Policy Studies Certificate and Educational Specialist Certification.
“I was struck by his work as an elementary school principal and his ability to build trust among the teachers who report to him. He is student-centered, always putting their needs first, but he understands the importance of creating a climate and culture in which teachers thrive as well. He is committed to creating a school culture that values equity, collaboration, community involvement, and open communication.” ~ Elizabeth Colburn.
Romero lives in Denver Colorado with his wife Rachel Bakken ’09 Romero, also a recipient of the 2019 10 Under 10 Award this year, and three-year-old son, Collin. Romero has stayed connected with Hope College over the years despite living in Colorado. Hope College is grateful for his continued dedication and support of his alma mater.
Hope College is proud to give Diego Romero the 10 Under 10 Award. The “10 Under 10 Awards” honors emerging leaders who are making significant contributions by living out their callings; engaged in the local and global community through professional and/or volunteer involvement; and use their education to think about important issues with wisdom and clarity, communicate effectively to bridge boundaries that divide human communities and act as agents of hope living faithfully into their vocations. Designed for alumni who are within 10 years of graduation, they are presented by the Hope College Alumni Association. Make a nomination today!