Where are they now: Alberto García

Alberto García, WHS Class of 2000 (Courtesy photo)

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Winters Warriors are a proud group who trailblaze down a myriad of different career paths after they graduate. Alberto García is one such Winters High School alumni who looks back fondly on where his career path started and embodies the fact that just because one is from a small town doesn’t mean they’re small-time.

Born — in Woodland — and raised in Winters, García is a graduate of the WHS Class of 2000. While graduating high school is no small feat, for García it only marked the beginning of his lifelong educational journey.

Following his WHS graduation, García enrolled at UC Davis and completed his undergraduate degrees in communication and history in 2005. He completed his Masters degree in Latin American Studies at Stanford University. 

“I finished (Stanford) in 2007, took a break from school and then went back to Davis to work on an educational research project there for a few years,” said García. “Then I enrolled in Berkeley in 2009 for a Ph.D. program in History. I finished there in 2016. I stayed there for a year as an adjunct member of the faculty. That was 2016–17 school year, then in 2017–18 I was at the University of Texas at Austin as a post-doctoral fellow there. After that in the fall of 2018, I came back to California and became a full-time faculty member at San Jose State where I teach history courses.”

From Warrior, to Aggie, to Cardinal, to Golden Bear, to Longhorn to finally becoming a Spartan — García’s educational resume is a lengthy academic journey. Although there are a lot of miles on his educational odometer, García’s passion for education burns as hot as it did when he was still walking through the halls at WHS.     

“History was always my favorite subject in school growing up. My parents are originally from Mexico, and I got to meet two of my great-grandparents before they passed away. So, their stories at the turn of the 20th century got me going. That was the first spark, then I had a really great US History teacher at Winters High in Jim Stark,” García said reminiscing about his inspiration for education. “I continued pursuing it when I was in college and made history one of my majors. Then one of my professors at Davis thought that I should make it my living — so I did, and it’s been great.

García noted that even though he’s in San Jose, his career makes it feel close to his roots.

“I know it sounds corny, but the students really are the best part of being a professor at San Jose State. Especially because it’s a lot of folks from places similar to Winters. Just small towns and from working-class families and things of that nature,” García said.

Because decades of hard work in education simply aren’t enough to satiate García’s ambition, he opted to write a book titled, “Abandoning Their Beloved Land. The Politics Of Bracero Migration In Mexico.”

A revised version of his dissertation, the book dives deep into the Bracero Program in the US from 1942–1964. It’s more than just a book for García, however, it’s part of his family story as his grandfather was a Bracero working in the central valley. According to García, it’s also a story many of his friends back in Winters share whose grandfathers were also Braceros.

As García continues down his educational journey and career, he also has advice for current Winters Warriors looking to embark on their own after graduation.

“Winters was a great foundation for me. It’s not perfect, but a great place to grow up and gave me a sense of community. My parents were farmers and made a good life here. (I) had good friends growing up and had great teachers from kindergarten all the way through high school,” said García. “For the current Warriors, all I have to say is keep at it. It’s a completely different world now from when I was at WHS 20-plus years ago, but keep at it. Sure, you might be from a small town, but that doesn’t mean you’re limited in what you can do. If there’s something you really want to do, and something you’re really interested in and passionate about pursuing, don’t limit yourself just because you’re from a small town.”

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