posted October 2, 2017 - written by Molly Rutter, SOE Graduate Assistant
Buffalo native John Starkey chose Buffalo State because it was diverse, dynamic and met his needs, both on an academic and on a socio-economic level. From walking to campus from his apartment in the Elmwood Village to meeting his friends in the Union, Starkey fondly remembers his experiences at Buffalo State.
“Buffalo State accepted me for who I was and where I was when I arrived. I made some great friends in my time there and we remain close even today.”
Starkey, who received a bachelor’s in Spanish, became committed to learning Spanish after he failed a high school Spanish Regents Exam. Following a year studying in Spain, he returned to Buffalo State where his department professors convinced him to pursue a career in Spanish. As a student, Starkey got involved with various initiatives in the Modern Languages department, including as a member of Sigma Delta Pi - La Sociedad Nacional Honoraria Hispánica (the National Collegiate Hispanic Honor Society). He also took a summer course through which he spent a week camping with other Spanish majors, speaking only Spanish.
“Our week together, speaking no English at all, was experiential and fun and basically helped me immerse myself in the Spanish language. It was a great experience and something we should do more of in education today!”
He speaks highly of the supportive professors he had on campus, especially the “late and great” Javier Ortiz Calderon.
“No te quedas por vencido - Don’t allow yourself to be defeated,” Ortiz Calderon told Starkey. “There are always those who will tell you that something cannot be done because it’s never been done. Buffalo State is full of students and staff who have been told this. Use that negative energy as motivation and channel it into positive energy!”
Today, Starkey serves as the principal for Lafayette International Community High School, located just blocks from his alma mater, where he continues to use his understanding of the Spanish language and his education from Buffalo State to help English Language Learners succeed in Western New York and the United States.
Starkey also continues to be involved at Buffalo State, with a strong dedication to community and helping empower those who need support. Lafayette International Community High School partners with Buffalo State in an effort to improve the achievement, graduation rates and college readiness of newly arrived students in the United States. He frequently visits the campus to collaborate with Wendy Paterson, dean of the School of Education, Don Patterson, director of the Upward Bound Program, and Drew Kahn theater professor and director of the Anne Frank Project.
“I would like to help make Lafayette International Community High School the most innovative and effective learning institution in the world,” he said.
To succeed in the field of education, Starkey believes it takes hard work, persistence, communication and an openness to new ideas. He wants to leave the world a better place for those that come after him.
“The best way to learn is to teach, and the best way to teach is to allow your students to own their learning. Let them experience the learning and you be a facilitator, not a bestower of information. I was given so many opportunities by those who came before me, and now it is my responsibility to do the same for those coming up next.”
Back to Top
Some content on this page is saved in PDF format. To view these files, download Adobe Acrobat Reader free. If you are having trouble reading a document, request an accessible copy of the PDF or Word Document.