Jesus A. Garcia

Degree: Master of Art in Teaching

College/School: College of Education

Jesus A. Garcia does not know how to give up.

At 53 years old, Jesus is no stranger to adversity: He survived a serious accident in 1991 that resulted in the partial loss of his right arm and a crippled left arm. In 2012 one of his twin sons suffered a traumatic brain injury in a car crash that affected his mobility and his ability to speak. Two years later, his wife, Melanie, battled a ravaging cancer that ultimately claimed a leg.

It would be enough to stop any person, but Jesus, a Golden Key International Honor Society member, has treated every day since his accident as a gift, choosing to focus on serving as an inspiration to others.

Jesus’s master’s thesis, comprising eight mixed media artworks, embody his mantra. In one piece, “Rebirth,” he used a photograph of himself among California’s famous redwoods which he then embellished with bright red wings springing from his back – the Phoenix reborn through adversity.

Despite estimating that it takes him up to six times longer than an average artist to complete a piece of art, Jesus remained undeterred and sought to marry his passions for teaching and creating original works by earning a Master of Art in Teaching to develop South Florida’s future artists.

While completing his thesis, he counted on the mentorship of Professor David Chang.

Today, Jesus works as a substitute teacher for Miami-Dade County Public Schools, but he plans to teach art full time at the high school level.