30 Aug 2021
Brown Urban Fellowship
Sylvio Gario never imagined he would want to become a teacher.
Gario immigrated from the small Caribbean island of St. Maarten and moved to the United States with his mother and sister when he was a child. The trio settled in an impoverished Texas community. As a young boy, Gario was unruly and unfocused. Gario’s elementary school teachers encouraged him to improve his behavior, but he was unwilling to listen.
He maintained his poor behavior until he entered high school, where a Black teacher, Ida Keener, told him that if he stopped his foolishness, changed his attitude and concentrated on his studies, he could achieve great things.
This time, Gario listened.
He learned that in order to accomplish anything in life, he needed an education. Gario buckled down and went on to earn a scholarship to the New England Institute of Technology, where he received a bachelor’s degree in electronics engineering.
Eventually he became a learning technologist at FM Global, a position he recently relinquished in order to pursue his goal of educating youth in urban communities. He discovered his love for teaching later in life, after serving as a substitute teacher at Thompson Middle School in Newport.
Gario’s commitment to sharing his knowledge and experience with BIPOC youth led him to enroll in the Master of Arts in Teaching (MAT) and Urban Fellowship Programs at Brown University. The intensive, year-long academic Urban Fellowship Program requires the participant to commit to teaching in Providence’s urban core region for three years upon completion of the program.
Children need role models
“Children of color need teachers of color from urban communities as their role models,” said Papitto Opportunity Connection Board Member Arnell Milhouse. “Children are inspired by authority figures who look like them. Growing up, I did not have a teacher that looked anything like me. Having a teacher of color would have made an enormous impact on my life.”
Gario’s goal is to change the narrative in communities of color.
“I am so excited for this amazing opportunity. The educational system does not favor intelligent, curious, but underprivileged Black students and students of color. I hope to become a teacher who will help my students and my community flourish by providing structure, knowledge and safety,” said Gario. “The Brown University MAT program and my own experience as a student will allow me to become an example to underprivileged Black students.”