CONCORD — Students at Mt. Diablo High received a visit from a very special alum Friday: the U.S. Ambassador to Mexico.
Earl Anthony Wayne, a 1968 graduate, toured his alma mater with several other alumni including Jenny Ruscoe, who teaches English at the school. They were in town for a high school reunion.
While touring classrooms where students learn high-tech skills, Wayne marveled at the changes the school has seen. And Mt. Diablo students were visibly awed to learn that one of their own had risen to such a prominent role in the country.
"Once a Red Devil always a Red Devil," said teacher Randy DePew, driving the point home to his students.
Coincidentally, Wayne said a professional baseball team in Mexico is also called the Red Devils, or "Diablos Rojos."
Many of the students at Mt. Diablo have roots in Mexico. When Wayne visited a ceramics class, he spoke to students who came to the United States from Michoacan and Jalisco.
He told them that those areas are beautiful, but they do have some problems with gang violence. Michoacan is famous for its monarch butterflies, he added.
"The relation between Mexico and the United States is very special," he told students in another class. "And you guys represent what's special about it."
He told students it's okay if they don't know what they want to do, as long as they work hard at learning more and follow their inner voices telling them what they'd like to pursue.
He said he liked science, math, history and English when he was in school. Then, he started learning about other countries and that led him to discover the world of diplomats. First, he worked on European trade issues, then economics, he said.
"I never thought I'd work in Latin America, until one day someone said: 'Hey, how would you like to be ambassador to Argentina?"
Ruby Zapien and many other students appeared grateful for the opportunity to meet and speak with Wayne. Zapien said she wants to be an immigration lawyer, after hearing the problems her parents encountered.
"They're always opening up new opportunities for our school," she said, as she snapped photos of Wayne. "And this is amazing."
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