Go to college?
No one talked about college, least of all Ryan.
Successful people go to college, he thought.
Not some kid from central El Paso, who could see gangs and crime from his window.
He felt lucky to graduate high school; to make enough tackles to be an all-state linebacker in Texas.
The phone rang in his apartment the spring of his senior year.
Doane assistant football coach Chris Bessler was talking to him about a college 18 hours away.
"That phone call changed my life."
Going to college.
Doane coaches picked him up at the airport, moved him in, introduced him to other players, helped ease the culture shock.
One of the first things he did was find a place to box, waking at 4 a.m. to train in Lincoln and make it back for 8 a.m. classes.
He needed boxing.
"It gives me a taste of home."
He was seven when a bully gave him a swollen lip and took his school supplies, a big purchase for his family of six.
His dad, Luis, took Ryan straight to the boxing gym.
That was his dad's way, pushing him toward athletics, pulling him away from the streets, teaching him to take care of himself.
"Have you seen the movie Freedom Writers?" Ryan asks.
It gives a sense of certain aspects of his high school.
El Paso is a place of remarkable history and desert beauty, but his neighborhood was about grit and poverty, gangs and crime.
It didn't leave Ryan untouched. He was on a bad path for a while.
His dad pulled him back. He found success and the path to college in football.
At Doane, he played football one year, and joined the Sigma Phi Theta fraternity.
He grew to love this place where people trusted each other.
"Where I grew up, there's always a wall up."
Ryan wants to work with high-school kids in urban areas. He'll teach them social sciences , but he's just as interested in taking down their walls, showing them how to trust.
"Every kid is a good kid. They just need a little bit of guidance... I feel like I could be a good role model."
Dr. Linda Kalbach, his adviser and assistant professor of education at Doane, agrees.
"Ryan wants to make sure every student gets the opportunity to hear messages of affirmation and to cultivate their mind. Sometimes kids need someone who has not always received that message."
Some education program highlights:
At Doane, pre-service teachers complete approximately 300 hours of practicum experience with K-12 students prior to student teaching.
- Students begin working in classroom settings during their first year
- Student assisting continues during the sophomore and junior years
- Full-time student teaching occurs during the senior year (ranging from 14 weeks for one endorsement to a maximum of 24 weeks for two endorsements)
Doane was the FIRST college/university in the nation to offer a warranty of its teacher education graduates to hiring school districts. The college will provide free training for its new teachers as necessary at no cost to the school district or Doane graduate.
Doane College GUARANTEES its teacher education students employment following graduation in the education field.
(more information at doane.edu/Academics/Majors/Crete/d-h/Education)