Captivating Students through History

In his career spanning almost forty years, there are many stories and memories from the students and alumni of humanities and history professor Nelson Hernández, one of the most beloved and valued professors in Sagrado’s faculty.

Professor Nelson Hernández began teaching history courses part-time at Sagrado in 1980. Photo by Néstor Méndez

By Nicole Ortiz Marrero
Journalism student

Many emulate his teaching style; some, his passion for the profession he chose; and others, his quality as a human being. But all of them are convinced that they will never forget the difference that Professor Nelson Hernández made in their lives.

He began teaching part-time at Sagrado in 1980. At the time, he only taught history courses, but today his class catalogue also includes various humanities courses. And even though he acknowledges that his courses “are not the most popular ones among students,” he always endeavors to make the experience as pleasant as possible.

“I know that my classes aren’t the most popular ones among students, that’s why I try to make them as seamless as possible so that they can understand the correlation with the present, and students can enjoy them,” he said.

However, that was not the case for Javier Alvelo Abrahante who, after taking one of Hernández’ class, switched gears to majored in education. He is now a high school history teacher. He admits he learned part of his teaching style from his professor.

“Hernández was a big influence. His classes helped me realize that biology was not my thing and that the humanities were more exciting to me. What I learned from him was his way of involving students in the discussion and how to make the class more appealing for them,” the education alumni said.

Today, 37 years later, Hernández continues to be the same person he was in the beginning. Regardless of the Dolphin generation to which they belong, all his students agree that Hernández continues to have the same drive to help them. Perla Alessandra Hernández, a senior in journalism, claims that his legacy is his commitment to his students.

“What makes him so unforgettable is his love for students. His motto is to support students, and it goes without saying, he puts himself in the student’s place and motivates them to fight for their rights,” said the soon-to-be journalist.

Professor Hernández confessed that he had to make his classes more appealing for students by integrating, for instance, new technologies. Photo by Néstor Méndez

Prof. Hernádez also admits that he wasn’t always set on teaching college students, but life brought him here. Time has made him adapt and change according to current events.

“I have always believed that students should be treated with kindness, decency, and respect. I had to adapt in order to make the class more appealing and inviting so they would get involved. The biggest challenge has been to make them put away their electronic devices, and eventually incorporate them into the class so that it is more appealing to them,” Professor Hernádez said.

He claims that his biggest satisfaction is to see his students participate actively inside and outside the classroom, and to be involved in the development of their leadership skills and talents. However, he added that there’s nothing better than to see them grow to become professionals.

It is not unusual to see him walking by the Student Council’s events to support the Dolphins and encourage them to hold events outside the classroom. An example of this is his next conference entitled, “Martin Luther: Works and significance. Five centuries after the Protestant Reformation,” which will be held on Thursday, April 20, 2017, at 11:00 a.m. in the CEDTEC during Universal Time.

About this conference, he says that, when considering the great contribution made by Luther, it’s time to examine the historical event and how the past affects the present.

“It’s time to begin the interreligious dialogues with a true spirit of unity, without being limited to the historical fact, but rather seeing how it has changed and the impact it has had,” Professor Hernández noted.

Meanwhile, when asked about the professor, students and alumni alike have endless stories to tell, many of which feature how Hernández made a difference in their lives.

Zacha Acosta, who received her Bachelor’s degree in journalism in 2003, shared that professor Hernández “used to inspire her mornings with extra and abundant knowledge.” He helped her “understand many socio-political and civil issues” while she traveled the world as a student-athlete, and he instilled in her the “passion to learn more about the historical aspects of any topic.”

Saúl Vargas, a sixth-year humanities student, said that his energy, enthusiasm, and charisma in class make his teaching unforgettable.

Hernández, a mentor of the Student Council, a champion of student life and school spirit, and a supporter of all, makes sure that his students can identify themselves with their Alma Mater. He encourages students to participate in student associations and to make the most of their college years beyond the classroom.

Thank you, Professor Hernández, for serving as a role model for all our Dolphins!