The Downey Legend

The Lives of Teachers Before They Were Teachers: Mr. Rios

Julissa Villalobos, Photo Editor

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Mr. Rios is an English teacher at Downey High School with a past he energetically brings to the classroom. He played with The Mosleys for a large part of his 20’s and is also an avid writer.

With a population of 4,400 students being taught and guided by teachers who must memorize more than 100 names and faces, Roger Rios, a true “rock-n-roll” teacher in A-206 develops real connections with his students that they will never forget.

 

“He seems real. If that makes sense. He understands what we are going through and has been through worse,” Sarah Perez, 12, said. “He’s honest with the students and that’s what I find likable about him.”

 

Mr. Rios grew up in different cities but brands Huntington Beach as his hometown. He describes it being very “vanilla” and boring. At a young age he felt as if he could not identify with certain labels. He wanted to be an actor at one point but was not allowed to pursue theatre in high school because of his bad student reputation; he played sports but wouldn’t call himself a jock and he played music but wouldn’t label himself a musician. He played in several garage bands until eventually he stuck with one “real band” who called themselves The Mosleys. It wasn’t about being a successful rock band or “getting the chicks.” It was about trying to feel a connection with his ever-changing environment.

 

“I was the horrible rhythm guitar player, the energetic shouter,” Rios said. “That band [The Mosley’s] was more about sticking the finger to the man.”

 

Music is a huge part of his life but being a musician wasn’t the goal. Writing is Rios’ real passion and is a huge reason as to why he is an English teacher. He describes writing as a constant struggle that he is addicted to and music as just pure fun.

 

“I think for my husband writing is part of his soul. It’s part of his makeup…like it’s in his DNA. He’s a writer in everything he does,” Kellie Anderson, wife of Rios, expressed. “He sees a bigger picture in a way that very few people do. It is really quite fascinating to watch and frankly I’m a little bit envious of it.”

 

There is more to Rios than just lectures and homework. He teachers English with a passion anyone can sense. He relates to almost everyone’s struggles and isn’t afraid to voice his opinions or share his past experiences with his students. In the words of Rios, “Take it easy man.”

Julissa Villalobos, Photo Editor

Ever since the trip to Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA) with her grandma to an art exhibition, senior Julissa Villalobos has known that art is...

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The Lives of Teachers Before They Were Teachers: Mr. Rios