Born in New Britain, Connecticut in 1989, Mr. Evan Acevedo “experienced a different America as a Black child growing up in the U.S.” He grew up in a single-parent household and lived in public housing.
“I had to visit my father in prison as a child and grew up around drugs and violence. I always knew I had to work twice as hard to carry myself in a different manner to make something of myself in this country. No matter my circumstances, I didn’t allow them to dictate my future.”
While attending high school, he joined a club for African-American students advised by history teacher and Acevedo’s mentor, Mr. Kevin Williams. “I was able to see and know somebody that looked like me that was successful outside of sports or entertainment. It broadened my vision of what is possible in life and gave me new experiences.”
At Central Connecticut State University, he majored in both mathematics and secondary education and, after college, began teaching at Bulkeley High School in 2014.
Acevedo was also a math teacher at Windsor Public Schools before taking up his current job as Naugatuck High School’s On-Track Coordinator in 2019. “I wanted to leave the constraints of the classroom to have a deeper connection with students who go unnoticed.”
Unfortunately, he admitted to having experienced racism from students and co-workers, and he believes that Naugatuck does not do a good enough job catering to its students of color.
In order to show that they truly value diversity among both students and staff, Acevedo stated that, “The school and the district need to have written policies and programs to recruit and retain teachers of color. The district should have programs that pay tuition for Naugatuck’s students of color that wish to teach in Naugatuck. To retain teachers of color, the district should pay for advanced degrees and certifications that allow educators to become administrators.”
According to the 2019 Census, nearly 80% of Naugatuck’s population is white. The remaining population is 9.3% Black or African-American, 2.7% Asian, and 12.5% Hispanic or Latinx.
“Research and know your history because the education system won’t teach you. You matter and your voice matters, always use it. Become comfortable with expressing your emotions. Read and always strive to self-educate,” he says to Naugatuck’s Black children and teens.