From Oak Cliff to Harvard and back again; Adan Gonzalez has big plans

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DALLAS — This year Harvard graduated 7,066 students. Of those, 732 came out of the Graduate School of Education, 666 of that group got a Master of Education.

Only one of those got that degree, moved back home to Oak Cliff, and took a job teaching third Grade at James Bowie Elementary School.

After graduating in a sea of Harvard Crimson, Adan Gonzalez returned to his roots.

“My name is Adan Gonzalez, I’m from Oak Cliff, and I’m here to help. That’s why I’m here.”

Adan Gonzalez knows the territory.

“This is the school we walked to every morning, and I think overall this is where you make memories, happy memories too,” Gonzalez said from the Bowie Elementary library Monday.

Plenty of people have a hometown they left and never went back, and plenty more talk about someday getting out of the hood. So why, with degrees from Georgetown and Harvard, did Adan go back?

Because of what he realized when he was gone.

“I learned that it’s not normal for my peers to be hungry,” Gonzalez said. “It’s not normal for my peers to not come prepared for school.”

He’s been there.

“I applied for college sitting on a curb at McDonald’s using a laptop that wasn’t mine,” he remembered. “I arrived to college with my clothes in trash bags because I didn’t know anything about airport fees.”

He came back because he wants to change everything.

“My story should not be an exception. If anything, it should be an expectation,” he said.

He already helps more than 250 kids through Puede Network, a five-year-old community non-profit he started while he was at Georgetown.

Now, he’s taking on the school system as a way to reach the kids.

As he says, “Si, se puede.”

Yes, you can.

And yes he can.

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