Women in Kern County: Blanca Cavazos

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Blanca Cavazos was born in Mexico. 

Her family immigrated to America, settling in Arvin when she was three years old. 

It was a tough new world for Cavazos. 

“I remember being the only Latina in certain classes,” said Blanca Cavazos.

She struggled in school.

“I didn’t speak the language and during that period of time, that era, you were punished if you spoke any other language,” Cavazos said.

Teachers didn’t believe she would amount to anything, but Cavazos proved them wrong.

“We can’t write the future for somebody else,” Cavazos said.

She attended Cal State University Bakersfield, attaining her bachelors and masters degree. 

After, she returned to Arvin to teach. 

“If we can influence one child.  If we can change the life for one child, open a door, open opportunities, it’s not just that one child that we’re effecting, it’s the whole family,” Cavazos said.

Cavazos later completed her doctorate at Fresno State University and became the first female and minority principal at Arvin High School.

Despite her qualifications, she once again faced those who believed she couldn’t succeed. 

“One of the statements that was made was that she’s just a token, that they brought in because they need somebody who’s Latina or Latino,” Cavazos said.

She set out to show them she wasn’t just a token. 

“I was just going to do the best job and all I could do was prove them wrong over time and I think I did,” Cavazos said.

One of her greatest attributes, her word. 

“Even when they’re difficult, I have to do the right things.  Even when there’s a real penalty attached to it, a personal penalty attached, I still  have to do the right thing because at the end of the day I go home and I look at myself in the mirror,” Cavazos said.

For nearly 35 years she’s done the right things.

A quality that landed her in the role of Superintendent for the Taft Union High School District, once again being the first female and minority to hold the title.

“I think what drives me the most is I know from personal experience that education can make every difference in the world for you,” Cavazos said.

Always putting her students first.

“I want them to take my job because they can.  If I could do that having grown up in poverty, learning the language, struggling with the language, having been a struggling student initially, if I could do that then there’s not anyone that really can’t do that if they wish,” Cavazos said.

Cavazos believes leaders come in many forms and to truly succeed it takes each and every one, from students to her fellow staff members.

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