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KCC > Foundation > Alumni > Distinguished Alumni > 2016 - Robert de Oliveira

2016 - Robert de Oliveira

Robert de OliveiraSince graduating from KCC in 1993, Robert de Oliveira has made a major impact on the Hispanic community in and out of the classroom. He was raised in Brazil and moved to the United States to receive a higher education. As a former migrant, de Oliveira understands how challenging it can be to live in a country without knowing the language. He says he couldn’t have succeeded without the help of his friends, He now speaks three languages: Portuguese, Spanish and English. One of de Oliveira’s missions is to help new migrants adjust to living in the U.S. 

Since 2014, de Oliveira has been a consultant for the Migrant Education Program, helping students and their families with their education. He helps those wanting to learn English as well. De Oliveira was president of the Illinois Migrant Education Association from 2006-09. In 2008, he received the Illinois Migrant Teacher of the Year award.

After receiving an Associates in Arts degree from KCC, de Oliveira attended Olivet Nazarene University and completed a bachelor’s degree in history education in 1996. He began teaching in Kankakee School District 111 and quickly became a favorite teacher among students, who frequently call him “Mr. D.” In 19 years of teaching, he has taught subjects such as social studies, bilingual classes, and English as a Second Language. Today, he teaches Spanish and Latin American Studies at the Kankakee High School. 

In 2013, de Oliveira introduced the Foreign Travel Program, encouraging students to explore other countries and learn their cultures. In June, he will lead a tour to Spain, France and Italy. In 2016 he will be leaving teaching, after 19 years, to become an assistant principal for Kankakee High School.

Outside of teaching, de Oliveira has been involved in many committees including:

  • Kankakee Public Library
  • Kankakee Historic Society board of directors
  • Kankakee Natural Historic Preservation Committee
  • Kankakee Valley Youth Symphony Orchestra (founding member)
  • Acting Out Theatre Co. (founding member)

De Oliveira credits KCC for sparking his interest in academics. He considers himself a “lifelong learner,” with a passion for education that keeps growing. De Oliveira also frequently brings his classes to KCC for field trips to share the opportunities the college provides—like it did for him.