Humans of Miami Lakes: MLEC students honor their teacher Neyda Borges

Wednesday, October 31, 2018 0 Comments

Humans of Miami Lakes: MLEC students honor their teacher Neyda Borges

 

Neyda Borges remembers Miami Lakes before it was “growing beautifully.” At eight years old, Borges and her family moved from their home in Hialeah to the neighboring Miami Lakes. It was a time of major development for Miami, and Miami Lakes was just sprouting its roots. 

 “Everything south of N.W. 149 Street was filled with dense trees,” said Borges. “As kids, we rode our bikes into ‘the forest’ and half believed we’d find monsters, wild animals and maybe even Tarzan. Those were the trees eventually plowed down for new homes and for Barbara Goleman Senior High.” 

 As Borges grew, the town grew with her. She watched as both Hurricanes Andrew and Irma shook the community. She went from Owl, to Warrior, to Trojan, to Hurricane, to Jaguar but the Laker in her never left. 

 After graduating from the University of Miami, Borges and her high school sweetheart, Daniel Borges moved back to Miami Lakes. She became an English and journalism teacher at Miami Lakes Educational Center (MLEC), and helped found the school’s Cambridge program. 

 Helena Castro, the activities director at MLEC and Borges’s colleague for the past 13 years, describes Borges as someone who wants to make an impact. The desire is practically in her blood, “given that she is the daughter of a political prisoner and Cuban exiles,” said Castro.

 Borges’ students live around the world now, but they always keep in touch. They all remember Borges’ classroom, fondly named “the pink room.”

 “I think the pinnacle of that achievement and that ability to touch the lives of her students has been demonstrated by the students that have gone through our journalism program, which ironically, has produced students that span different fields,” Castro said.

 Though all of her colleagues and students can attest to the impact she’s had on them, Borges herself was hesitant to say that she’s had an impact on the community. She often resists praise, although she definitely deserves it. 

 Over the years, she has received numerous accolades. She was the region Teacher of The Year in 2011, one of only five teachers who were finalists to represent Miami-Dade County Public Schools at the state level. 

 In 2015, she was one of only 10 teachers across the county recognized by Unvision as “una maestra especial” (A special teacher translated in Spanish.) Despite her numerous achievements, she always stresses that it is her students that inspire her. Her goal, she says, is to help them be “the best versions of themselves.” By always giving back, always helping others and being civic minded. 

 “As a resident, I try to take part in the activities going on around town. I try to stay informed,” she said. “I feel like it's our responsibility to be civically engaged because if we want the world to be better, we have to be better.”

 Borges will continue to impact Miami Lakes for the foreseeable future. Her mother wanted to move downtown when it was “new,” but Borges herself never considered it. 

 “Miami Lakes was home,” she said. “There are certain places that just feel like home.” 

 Two years ago, Borges and her husband welcomed their son Ian into the world. To Borges, Miami Lakes was the perfect place to start her career, get a house and raise a family. 

 “There are a lot of great places to live in Miami,” she said. “But I have not found one that has the sense of community that we have.”

 

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