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Educator Hugo Torres ’17 is adding another layer of school service to his life.

The assistant principal of Holy Family School in Redwood City, California was recently appointed to the San Mateo County Board of Education.

Torres, who received a bachelor’s degree in American Studies and a K-9 teaching certification from Dominican University, has also served as director of programs for his local Siena Youth Center — which, like Holy Family School, is an extension of the St. Francis Center, an organization assisting the working poor of the community and providing educational opportunities for them and their children. The center’s executive director, Sr. Christina Heltsley, is a Dominican sister, and Torres currently oversees operations as the program manager.

Additionally, Torres is studying for his Master of Nonprofit Administration degree from the University of San Francisco. Despite his busy schedule, he agreed to put his name forward for the vacant school board seat after a parent asked him to consider it.

“The community I serve is a predominately Latinx community from low-income families and the unincorporated parts of the county. Their needs tend to go unnoticed,” Torres said. “After looking at the current board and thinking about the other possible applicants, I knew there was going to be no diversity or representation of the community, which gave me the motivation to apply.”

His work in Latine youth education and service began when he was 13 and volunteered for the town of Cicero Youth Commission, he said. Over the next several years, he worked his way up to director of programs. Prior to becoming assistant principal, Torres was a classroom teacher at Holy Family School, which educates a largely Hispanic population.

“Dominican University prepared me by giving me amazing professors who held high expectations and were great resources to me even after I’ve graduated from DU,” he said.

A first-generation student and the child of Mexican immigrants, Torres said his parents emphasized the importance of education and he always took his studies seriously.

“All my work has centered around Latinx youth, low-income families, and education because I see myself in the students and I see my parents in the students' parents,” he said.