A lasting legacy isn't just something a person earns quickly or easily. A legacy is built over countless years of building meaningful relationships, a positive attitude, and an unwavering dedication to the community. With 34 years of teaching under his belt, 33 of which were spent as a Trooper, government teacher and baseball coach John Cazares has certainly left a legacy. Cazares, who has left a positive impact on countless students and teachers, recently made the decision to retire effective at the end of the 2016-2017 school year.
Cazares has had a lasting impact on many of his students, some who have returned to Eastwood as teachers. Coach Ryan Medrano, who has known Cazares since he was 14, said he thought back to Cazares even back to after he left Eastwood.
"He was very impressionable on me as a young freshman coming into Eastwood," Medrano said. "I never stopped thinking about coach Cazares even after I graduated, so coming back here as a teacher and working with him has been very fulfilling for me as a person."
Speech teacher Ruly Medrano, who had a similar experience as Coach Cazares' student, said that the lessons he's learned from Coach Cazares will stick with him forever.
"I learned a lot from him when I was his student in high school and I've learned a lot from him as teacher," Medrano said. "I still look at him as a teacher. I don't call him John or Johnny, I call him Coach. Even when we're both retired one day he'll still be my teacher and coach."
Girls’ golf coach and former assistant baseball coach Jon Stovall also learned valuable lessons from Cazares.
“We had some tough years back then, struggling to keep from being last in strong district,” Stovall said. “Coach Caz was practically tearing his hair out trying to find some way to win. But he never lost his composure, never had tantrums or screamed at the boys. It’s easy to be dignified and gracious when you’re winning. It’s a special person who can maintain his honor when he’s getting pummeled. He was a great role model to me as a young coach.”
Though the impressions he left on students began nearly 33 years ago, Cazares has continued to affect students in a positive manner. Senior Asia Nobles, who has interacted with Cazares as a courtesy for the counselors this semester, said that though she doesn't have him as a teacher he has still managed to teach her a few things.
"He has a lot of character and he brings out a smile in everyone," Nobles said. "He's made me see the world differently and I'm going to miss seeing him every morning as he brightened my day when I did."
Coach Cazares said that when he retires he plans to continue to teach at the college level in his spare time, because he believes young people are the future of our city and society.
"I'd like to mentor young teachers, travel and I plan to teach at the community college," Cazares said. "I also plan to continue to play a part in the lives of young people because young people are the future and that's what teachers do."
Principal Armenia Smith said she, as well as the Eastwood community, will greatly miss Coach Cazares because of his commitment to his community and school.
"I will personally miss him because he always provided the spirituality needed for the school and faculty as he lead our opening prayers for numerous faculty gatherings," Smith said. "The community will miss his gentle soul and continued commitment to EHS."