Interview with Santa Duran


Image from the school’s Facebook page

Daniel Agama, Contributor

An amazing teacher and mentor at Santa Ana High School, Santa Duran teaches Medical Core with passion and speaks to her students not as children but as mature individuals because she understands that many of them go through situations in life that hurt physically and mentally. Therefore, I took the time to ask her a few questions that dive deep into the journey of her life. 


What inspired you to work in the medical field? Did you ever see yourself working in the medical field?

“My Mother inspired/Pushed me into the medical field. She was a Nurse in Switzerland and became one in the US, through a similar Vocational Ed program like I know teach.

Teaching was always my passion, I grew up in the 1960’s and so many wonderful and interesting children starting coming to my school from other countries. They spoke very little English, which in my own household my Grandmother only spoke Italian (no English by choice) and my Mother spoke Swiss French and Italian. So teaching English to my Mother as I learn English made me want to help these new students. They came from Columbia, Czechoslovakia, and many other countries too.

It was not my first choice growing up, but it worked out for me in my early 20’s to become a Nurses Aid (CNA) and work in a local Hospital Geriatric Ward. Later I transitioned into the Dental field, becoming an RDA, Office manager then RDA/OMSA working in Dental Surgery. I was trained by ROP/ now CTE in 1992 and later became a teacher for them.”, expresses Ms. Duran. 


This inspiring and wonderful woman made students aspire to become something bigger and better, regardless of their circumstances. She personally inspired me to look within myself and get out of my shell, to stop being so afraid of how others perceived me. I definitely feel more confident in voicing my opinions and ideas about certain topics. She definitely is a hard worker and sometimes a bit of a goofball but she showed that there could be balance when working and having fun,  which made me feel okay to  be a little crazy sometimes. With her response in mind, one can see how people´s struggle is a big motivator that embodies them to accomplish their desired goals. 


What were some of the obstacles that you faced growing up? What were some you faced in your work environment?

“I have ADHD and Auditory Deficit Disorder, diagnosed in my early 40’s…. Not knowing this as I struggle greatly through school, being told I was stupid, that I didn’t listen or pay attention was very difficult. I remember being told that I could never become a teacher because my grades were too poor to get into college… I guess I showed them…..}

People misunderstand me,Judging me, but as I learned more about myself and put gracious, understanding people around me, life changed for the better.”, emphasizes Ms. Duran.


To elaborate, when she had ADHD and Auditory Deficit Disorder nobody could diagnose her because it was just seen as if she was “dumb” and “hyper”. Just as how she was seen to only be “fat” which gave her a body image disorder where she would go from “super thin to super chubby”. Many people relate to body disorders, I know I feel insecure about my body some days but the bright side is that when you see others not care as much or joke about their weight, it makes you laugh at your own weight. Obstacles that were once struggled with in the past, do not define who we are now or in the future. 


How would you describe your journey to getting where you are now?

“Amazing, wonderful, not without critical, and heart breaking struggles. I have LIVED my LIFE to the best of my ability, and at age 60 this year I know there is NOTHING I can’t do.”, asserted Ms. Duran.


Miss. Duran is many things but the thing that prevails the most is the fire that burns within her heart, mind, and soul, which make her a compassionate and empathetic person. She is living proof that no matter the level of difficulty and circumstances, one should have no regrets of  following their passion and taking opportunities to live a life full of joy.