Mr. Daniel Dong
6th - 8th grade Teacher
Billy Lane Lauffer Middle Tucson, AZ
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About Mr. Daniel Dong
My name is Mr. Daniel Dong and I was born in Tucson, AZ. While growing up, I attended Liberty Elementary School, Apollo Middle School and Sunnyside High School. I also attended Kyrene Del Norte Elementary School when I lived for a short time in Phoenix, AZ. In addition, I also attended Tucson Chinese School for a few years, where I learned the basics of reading and writing in Chinese. While at Sunnyside High School I participated in various clubs and activities, both academic and musical. When I was a sophomore in high school I had the opportunity to play mariachi music in Washington, D. C. with Mariachi Los Diablitos de Sunnyside. This was my first experience playing music for an audience that was quite different from my own back yard. It was both terrifying and exciting at the same time. The same mariachi offered me the opportunity to play in Spain during my senior year. From these experiences, along with many others I had in high school, I learned that people from around the world are not so different, and that we all share common hopes and dreams for one another.
After graduating from high school I attended the University of Arizona, where I earned my B.S. in Psychology and minor in Molecular and Cellular Biology. During college I again participated in various clubs and activities. I enjoyed college because it allowed me the opportunity to meet with people from all around the world, with some people coming from countries that I was not familiar with. I also had the opportunity to play with Mariachi Arizona, the University of Arizona’s mariachi, for the former president of the United States, Bill Clinton, when he came to visit Tucson. I was very proud to represent both the Tucson community as well as the culture of mariachi music. During college I continued to play mariachi music professionally. In addition, I also held various jobs in college. They differed from tutoring middle school students in all subject areas to being part of a team that harvested human organs for research.
Since August, 2007 I have been working at Billy Lane Lauffer Middle School. At Billy Lane Lauffer Middle School I have taught 6th, 7th and 8th grade science. Also, I have taught science enrichment classes and mariachi. Last year I had the wonderful opportunity to participate with the BioME program associated with the University of Arizona. They gave me the ability to see more of what a scientist normally does when doing real science at the university doctorate level. The mariachi program, for which I am the director of, has attended the Tucson International Mariachi Conference for the past 4 years. In addition, with the great help of the Lauffer and Tucson community, we have developed an annual mariachi celebration which has been ongoing for the past 4 years. I look forward to having another fantastic year in science, where we will have the opportunity to explore the world around us. I am also looking foward to working with the mariachi program so that we may have some of the same opportunities that I had growing up with mariachi.