By Desiree Flores and Mayra Gallegos |
Survivor of cancer, courageous, and an amazing personality. Gene Strehle has been teaching geometry 13 years but that’s not the only thing he’s done. Strehle has had such an impact on students’ lives, and is able to do what he does with the motivation of his students and family.
“Being around the students gives me the energy to do my job. They create the drive in me to see everyone of them make it,” Strehle said. “Not only in my class but give them the sense of being worthwhile in this life. Family has always been here for me helping me.”
Strehle is a geometry teacher that is full of life but in the beginning it wasn’t so great. Growing up, Strehle had a bad childhood. Both of Strehle’s parents were alcoholics and he would sometimes run away from home. He lived in the streets and even a hole in the ground for a while to get away from his family.
Once Strehle turned 17, a friend of his helped him and turned him to a recruiter who helped him out.
“I was in a rough part of my life before I went into the military. Someone pointed me in the right direction and got me out of what I was into. The military was the best thing for me,” Strehle said.
After the Air Force, Strehle went back to school to get his math degree and teacher certification. He was the first one in his family to finish college. Strehle has been teaching geometry at Theodore Roosevelt High School for 13 years.
“Being here at Roosevelt has been a challenge,” Strehle said. “I’ve had the opportunities to move up to teach at higher level classes but I like teaching at this level because I think I can be more of an impact to the 15 and 16 year old students more than I could than who are 17 or 18.”
Strehle is planning to retire in two years but if he is healthy enough he’ll continue teaching. Every Friday before class begins he provides the class with a motivational video that gives the students a strong message.
“They’re fighters, I can see it and that’s what I want to display to them, that I’m also a fighter,” Strehle said.
Strehle was diagnosed with cancer four years ago. It started in his thyroid and he now has a tumor in his arm. Throughout the fight of his thyroid cancer, his students were always one of his best motivation to keep fighting.
“I’m going under treatment again next Friday, they’re trying different methods,” Strehle said.
His students admire Strehle for the good and the bad, we got a chance to talk to a student to describe what he thinks of Strehle.
“Mr. Strehle is a very caring teacher,” freshman Hobie Benavides said. “He treats us as if we were his own children, he makes sure that we get what we need done.”