Scholarship: Armando Ayala Memorial Scholarship
About the Sponsor
Dr. Armando A. Ayala was born in the border town of Laredo, Texas and the oldest of eight children - the first in his family ever attend college. The majority of Laredo’s population spoke Spanish; while most limited-English speaking students advanced incrementally in each grade level, they ultimately became bilingual and bicultural. Despite the economic hardships, language and social biases, a great number of Dr. Ayala’s classmates in the late 1940’s went on to college and became professionals; i.e., doctors, lawyers, engineers and teachers. When asked how this was possible that these graduates had their beginnings in Laredo, Dr. Ayala stated, “We were all poor so we did’t see a big difference. We had strong cultural ties to our family and community and to the value of hard work.” The high school band held Armando’s interest as a drummer and as a Folkloric dancer. His experiences as a Junior ROTC Cadet led to his service in the U.S. Air Force which proved to be both rewarding and a financial stepping stone to his dream of becoming a teacher. Dr. Ayala’s teaching career spanned over four decades, while acquiring additional degrees, credentials, fellowships and national awards. He became known as a pioneer in educational reform, a champion of learning in the classroom, a renowned leader in the field of bilingual/multicultural education and was an instructor in the Bilingual/Multicultural Education Dept. (BMED) at Sacramento State for many years. He brought a wealth of experience and information to this position through his teaching experience and having worked as an Administrator and Director of the Bilingual/Bicultural Education Program at Placer County Office of Education for over 23 years. He was also recognized for his commitment to the preparation and mentorship of students, teachers and anyone who might even consider the teaching profession as future bilingual teachers. Although Dr. Ayala was physically challenged for over 20 years, his attention was never focused upon himself. His love for people and to the value of an education, was seen in his only request of those who may have benefited from his knowledge and experience: “Pass on what you have learned to others in need.” He never forgot those who helped him. The family and friends of Dr. Armando Ayala consider it a privilege to assist students in becoming bilingual/multicultural teachers and that the circle of giving continues with these recipients.