Latino Giant of The Week: Ernesto Vega

I was born Ernesto Vega, Jr. in Alliance, a small town nestled in Northwest Nebraska, where we stayed all of two weeks. My father says that if I had waited “un poquito mas”, I’d have been born in Phoenix, Arizona. As migrant workers, my parents led a nomadic lifestyle. Separating from his family of eleven brothers and sisters, my father ventured to Gibsonburg, Ohio where I was raised as an only child in a state where Hispanics compromise .6 of the population. Growing up in Ohio, I endured much prejudice.

My first language was a rustic Spanish, a derivative of the “rancho” my parents were from in Nuevo Leon, Mexico. My first experiences with children my age were awkward. I thought something was peculiar, when I’d say “ven paca”, and they didn’t respond. At age five I began school and devoured English. Now that all language barriers were broken, I made up for my differences and excelled through elementary school with honors every quarter in all academics. I thrived on the competitive nature of school and wanted to do my best always.

At age twelve my parents moved to Chicago, Illinois, then continued their nomadic ways. I spent my sophomore year in four different schools! Finally we put down roots in Fullerton, California. I finished high school and subsequently attended Cal State University Fullerton earning a Bachelor degree in Spanish and Ethnic Studies. I now mastered a very refined Spanish. I was amazed at how poorly I used to speak the language.

I have been a teacher for over thirty years! I’ve enjoyed every moment. I have learned much from my students. We have taught each other the power of individuality, the art of listening, and the importance of challenging ourselves. I have also taught Adult School. My first experience teaching adults lasted two years at Hollywood High. I later spent six years teaching adults at Buena Park High School in Orange County. I very much enjoy teaching especially when the students genuinely express their gratefulness for the privilege of learning.

My teaching centers around enthusiasm, and keeping my comments to students as positive as realistically possible. My teaching embraces all modalities. I incorporate music and lyrics in language acquisition, too. My students love to sing, and while they are enjoying themselves, they are immersed in the English language.

I am currently writing a book to facilitate language learning using music and lyrics. I also am featured in a reality T.V. series as a songwriter and advice giver. I perform with my son as a duo in many venues, and I am slated to star in a movie about the Chicano experience. Stay tuned; my best is yet to come.

Ernesto Vega was born in the State of Nebraska. Aside from being  a Father and a Husband; Ernesto is a teacher, musician, and author. To find out more about his music, you may visit his site, Vega Music.


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