First year at Chamblee for DeKalb County Veteran

First+year+at+Chamblee+for+DeKalb+County+Veteran

Noa Benveniste, Author

Yojaria Villadiego teaches Spanish I and III at Chamblee, but it is not her first rodeo.

“Before I came to Chamblee I was at Lakeside for two years and at [Martin Luther King High School] for two years,” said Villadiego.

She has been working in DeKalb county for ten years and had as a discipline clerk, a registrar, and the assistant to the principal.

In addition to teaching, she also likes to read and spend time with her family. One of their favorite pastimes is going ice skating.

“I started skating with my kids about 15 years ago. We usually go at least once a week,” said Villadiego. “My kids always want to go and practice so they don’t lose their skills.”

Villadiego is a single mom with two daughters, Melissa, who is in eighth grade and Maria, who is currently attending the University of Texas.

“We also have a cat named Cheeto. He had cancer in his shoulder so [his leg] was amputated,” said Villadiego.

Villadiego’s family can find their roots in Colombia, where Villadiego herself grew up as the youngest of her four sisters.

“I am actually multi-racial,” said Villadiego. “My grandfather was white-Hispanic and my grandmother was black-African-Latino.”

When recalling her childhood in Colombia, Villadiego remembered drinking local Colombian coffee from a young age.

“Coffee is one of the main products from Colombia and I grew up with the coffee,” said Villadiego. “They usually gave us a sippy cup with coffee with milk. Well, more milk than coffee, but we grew up with that.”

Villadiego immigrated to the United States in 2000. Here, she was able to learn her second language, English, at a late age and got her Masters degree in Education at the same time. She hopes to put her schooling to good use at Chamblee, where she has a chance to teach advanced and gifted students.

“I want to help my students learn the language [Spanish] and also to appreciate the Hispanic culture,” said Villadiego.