Teach For America

Abhinav Mishra is driven to create opportunities for income students at Edcouch-Elsa High School.

While tutoring students in science at a low-income elementary school as an undergrad at Arizona State University, Abhinav Mishra came to an important conclusion; people may be created equally, but opportunities are not. The north Indian native was teaching a lesson about water molecules, specifically, how they are shaped like Mickey Mouse’s head. A second grade student named Felipe loudly exclaimed, “What about the orbitals? I don’t want to color – tell me how electrons are pulled!” It was that moment he realized that his students had brilliance that was simply going untapped.

Driven to create opportunities for income students, Mishra applied to Teach For America and was accepted into the 2015 Rio Grande Valley corps where he was hired to teach high school science at Edcouch-Elsa High School.

“Sitting on my father’s shoulders, I was able to see eye-to-eye with everyone else,” said Mishra. “There’s been a picture going around social media recently where three men are standing, trying to view a baseball game over a fence. The tall guy doesn’t need a box to stand on, whereas the short guy does. Being there for the short guy is why I came to Teach For America, so I could play my part in educational equity. Students need to see that opportunities exist for them.”

One such opportunity came when the National Science Foundation gave Teach For America a $1 million grant to train teachers in computer science. Mishra immediately jumped at the opportunity.

“I heard about a Computer Science initiative from another Teach For America corps member, who was trying to get more schools involved. I called the Teach For America managing director, Jonathan Stevens, and asked if I could “get in” on the action, so to speak,” said Mishra. “He spoke to my principal and our assistant superintendent, and that was it. Next thing I knew, I was on a plane on my way to a computer science training.”

After receiving his training, Mishra started Edcouch’s first computer science elective. Knowing the opportunities computer science generated for his own family members, as several work for companies like Google, he was excited to see those same doors open for his students.

While Mishra noted that many of his students are techy savvy, they do not understand the basics of how computers operate. Therefore in his class, students learn all of the computer science basics, including web page programming languages and robotics. However, Mishra’s students are not just learning computer science, they are excelling.

“For the first time in Edcouch-Elsa’s history, Edcouch-Elsa High School took first in computer science in University Interscholastic League at the district level,” said Mishra. “Plans are also in the works to introduce the first Advanced Placement classes for Computer Science. How awesome is that!?”Mishra is incredibly proud of all of his students and their hard work, even on days when his work is challenging.

“I walked into my classroom, exhausted after a long day. There was this little card that said “Thank you,” and a heartfelt, sweet message inside of it. One also thanked me for helping them get into a Yale summer program. Moments like these are what offer me hope and inspiration. Children often don’t realize how much they inspire us, not just the other way around. “

Magic Valley has been a supporter of the Teach For America program since 2003. During that time, they have sponsored numerous local educators who have expanded opportunities for students in our region’s most high-need schools.  Past teachers they have sponsored include teachers of the year, teachers who brought new advanced placement courses to a school, and educators who have gone on to become administrators and impact thousands of children in their career.  Additionally, Teach For America members help promote the annual Magic Valley Electric Coop scholarship program and encourage students to take advantage of this educational opportunity.

More News

MVEC Welcomes David S. Morales to Board of Directors

Dr. David Morales was appointed to serve as District 2 Board Director for Magic Valley Electric Cooperative in January 2023. Dr. Morales has lived in Brownsville, TX, since 1970. He graduated from Homer Hanna High School...

MVEC Welcomes Joshua L. Klostermann to Board of Directors

Josh Klostermann was appointed as the District 1 Board Director for Magic Valley Electric Cooperative in January 2023. Mr. Klostermann graduated from Raymondville High School in 1992.   He went on to attend Texas A&M University and...

The Cold is Here; Stay Prepared

Easy ways to keep warm while saving energy   12/23/22 As we begin to see the cold front making its way into the Rio Grande Valley, staying prepared is always a good idea. We also know that our...

Longtime MVEC Board President, Martin E. Garcia Passes Away

  Mercedes, TX: 11/10/2022: Magic Valley Electric Cooperative (MVEC) Board President, Martin Enrique Garcia II (DVM) peacefully passed away on November 6, 2022. A graduate of Texas A&M University as a Doctor of Veterinary Medicine, Garcia...

Magic Valley Electric Cooperative Welcomes Frank A. Ferris to Board of Directors

  Mercedes TX: 12/15/2021 – Magic Valley Electric Cooperative (MVEC) is pleased to announce the appointment of Frank A. Ferris as the newest board director representing District 3. Mr. Ferris was appointed to serve as the...

Magic Valley Electric Cooperative Selects New General Manager

September 20, 2021 Mercedes, TX - The Board of Directors of Magic Valley Electric Cooperative (MVEC) is pleased to announce that Brian R. Acosta has been selected to assume the role of general manager, effective November...

MVEC Board Member Nila Wipf Passes Away

Mercedes, TX: 08/18/2021: Magic Valley Electric Cooperative (MVEC) Board Member Nila Wipf passed away August 17, 2021. Ms. Wipf joined the MVEC Board in 2011 and represented the Cooperative’s District 3, which encompasses North Harlingen,...

Winter Storm High Bills - Member Notice By Our General Manager

Dear MVEC Members, February's winter storm that left millions of Texans without power was undoubtedly a historical weather event, wreaking havoc on the Texas’ power grid operator, the Electric Reliability Council of Texas, (ERCOT). As many...