From NBC Latino: Alvin Aureliano Davis greets more than 400 students to his band program and music classroom every day with a smile and strict expectations. More than just a music teacher in Florida’s Miramar High School, he’s an educator whose passion for music as an instrument to create top online music production schools academic success has, for the last twelve years, impacted thousands of students. Now, as the 2012 Florida Teacher of the Year, he’s the only Latino in the race of four finalists vying for the prestigious title of 2012 National Teacher of the Year.

It’s a far cry from Davis’ beginnings. Born on the south side of Chicago to a Mexican mother and African-American father, Davis was brought up with the mentality that through education and hard work, he could achieve his dreams.

“It wasn’t easy at all. I knew people who used drugs and were in gangs – I even had family members that were involved in that lifestyle,” recalled Davis. “My friend, he was maybe 9 or 10 at the time, was even shot dead on his porch next door to me because of gangs. But my parents knew that education was our way of not staying where we were, to achieve something better.”

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