After 34 years, Rada is retiring

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After 34 years, Rada is retiring

Mr. Robert Rada started teaching at CIHS in 1984.

Mr. Robert Rada started teaching at CIHS in 1984.

By Jessica Hwee

Mr. Robert Rada started teaching at CIHS in 1984.

By Jessica Hwee

By Jessica Hwee

Mr. Robert Rada started teaching at CIHS in 1984.


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At the end of this school year, we will not only say goodbye to the seniors, but to the Raider who has been here longer than anyone, Mr. Robert Rada.

Mr. Rada, a 1974 graduate of Hueneme High School, was told by his counselor that he was not college prep material, so he wanted to become a gardener.

He worked to become a gardener, but later attended BYU Hawaii and realized his true potential.

“When I was at BYU Hawaii, I got my first A in psychology, and that’s when I realized I could accomplish my goals,” he said.

Rada, who is half Samoan and half Czechoslovakian, later went to American Samoa Community College and graduated valedictorian class of 1980 with an AA degree. He was then accepted into UC Santa Barbara, where he majored in sociology and received his teaching credential. He completed his master’s degree in education from Grand Canyon University in 2001.

This year marked his 34th year as a Raider and, sadly, his last. He started working at CI in the fall of 1984. Over the years he has become known for many things: his amazing stories, his booming voice, and his five-year plan project.

In 1989, the veteran Raider started his long-term project, the five-year plan. This consisted of him and each of his senior classes creating a video explaining where they will be five years down the road.

Students are recorded individually in front of the class with the United States flag hanging behind them. Math teacher Ms. Celene Gutierrez was one of the students who participated in the project.

“I liked (the assignment) because I was very goal-oriented,” Ms. Gutierrez said. “And once you write something down and start thinking about it, it is more likely to happen.”

His five-year plan has left a lasting impression on many of his students, but this is especially so for his former student Ricardo Rosales who, when hearing about his retirement, emailed Mr. Rada.

In Rosales’ email, he thanked Mr. Rada for the five-year plan assignment.

“I had big dreams of working in the automotive industry for a big name company,” Rosales said in his email. “Thirteen years have passed since then, but I’m in a position now where that goal may be coming true in the next 1-2 years. Had it not been for that simple assignment I wouldn’t have ever thought that my dreams would become reality. I could have easily given up and continued to live a mediocre life, but setting those goals gave me a reason to work my hardest and believe in myself.

“Things might not always go to plan and we might get the occasional curve ball, but you taught us to never lose sight of what we want to achieve in life,” Rosales added. “Know that you impacted your students’ lives more than you could ever imagine.”

One of his current students, Adriana Mendieta, a senior, has known Rada for three years as a former member of the golf team. She describes him as “someone who’s never met a stranger because everyone is a friend.”

Assistant principal Mr. Randy Ortiz has worked at CI for many years and was even Mr. Rada’s student teacher.

“He was born to be a teacher. He reaches the hearts of students when he teaches and believes he can learn just as much from them as they can him,” said Ortiz.

After his retirement, Mr. Rada doesn’t plan on just sitting around all day. He has already applied and received the job at the Santa Barbara Bowl as an usher.

He often jokes about starting Radar Love Productions to create a documentary of the lives of students after the five-year plan. This may become a reality as he plans on taking classes at Ventura College, majoring in theater.

After 34 years, it is now time for Radar Love to move on.

“I call it a tabla raza, a new start, like when you come out of the womb. It’s sort of like a rebirth for me,” he said.

His last piece of advice he’d like to leave to Raiders are the words spoken by his father Louis Rada: “Just keep going straight, work hard, and tell the truth always.”

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