Featured Falcon: Mr. Ario

From Military to Education


Ria Henriquez, Writer

As he waited for the bus in his green uniform, he couldn’t help but surrender to the mix of excitement and nervousness that had been building up since graduation. He thought of the next six years and all the training and hard work he’d have to undergo. He was so set on his plans and was glad on having it all figured out. However, all plans are tentative, and life always hits you with the unexpected. 

Aaron Ario enlisted in the Air Force at the age of seventeen. He was set on doing six years, getting his education with the G.I. Bill, and becoming a Drug Enforcement Agency officer. Little did he know he’d last 24 years in the military before retiring to become a high school teacher. 

“I saw the young people coming in [the Air Force] and to put it bluntly, they weren’t very good. They just weren’t very good,” Ario said. “I thought by the time they got to me in the military it was too late. Where can I get to the kids earlier: before they go to the military, before they start life? High school. So there you go, that’s why I’m here.” 

Ario is very passionate about being a teacher because it is so much more than simply educating. It is about providing a positive influence in kids’ lives and molding them into responsible and mature young adults. 

“Make one kid a year better,” he said. “It sounds like a little goal, but if you can do one kid then the second one that year becomes easier and if you can do 5 then that’s just a blessing.”

He juggles teaching classes with coaching tennis as well. Coaching has become such an important aspect of his life because he believes it is an avenue for building long term relationships with his players, and it allows him to play a more active role in their lives. 

“A lot of the times I get texts over the summer or get questions asked over the summer. So it’s not just a school year, and it’s not just a single year where they come and they go,” he said. “You get to build a better relationship with the kids and become more of an influence on their life and hopefully a positive influence.” 

Ario enjoys his job and plans on staying for as long as he can. Teaching and coaching have fulfilled him in ways he never thought possible. He couldn’t have landed in a career further from what he planned, but he’s glad the pieces fell into place. Now he’s dedicated to making a difference in kids’ lives as they get ready for adulthood. 

“Kids who have graduated are willing to come back and say, “Hey, thanks,” or “Hey, you made a difference,” and those are probably my biggest accomplishments,” he said. “It makes your heart explode. And it’s not even a ‘pat yourself on the back’ it’s like “Wow, I did it. That’s what I wanted to do right there,” and to be able to see it – that makes it all worth it.”