Tafoya devotes life to teaching

Helena Rodriguez

Dr. Candido Tafoya has been a teacher for more than four decades, mostly teaching Spanish. He began his career as a school teacher in Santa Rosa. He also taught at New Mexico Military Institute in Roswell and then became a professor at Eastern New Mexico University in 1970. He retired from ENMU in 1994, but returned to ENMU nine years ago to teach part-time. He enjoys playing music with a band, Los Compadres, that he is a part of. They play at senior citizens centers in Clovis, Portales and Santa Rosa.

Name: Dr. Candido Tafoya
Occupation: Retired associate professor of Spanish at Eastern New Mexico University, part-time teacher
Age: 70
Hometown: Corona
Family: Wife, Isabel; sons, Ronnie, 40, Robert, 39 and Thomas, 33.

What do you think of Portales?
“Portales is a wonderful place to live and raise a family. We have lived here for 34 years.”

What do you visualize your life being like in 10 years?
“I hope to be enjoying good health and being able to be active in the community, helping others in some way.”

Tell us about your parents:
“My parents were honest and hard-working people. Although they were not educated, they encouraged us to get an education so that we could help others.”

Who is your hero and why?
“My father was my hero because he taught me the value of hard work and honesty.”

What is you greatest hope?
“My greatest hope is to see peace in the world and a society free of violence and suffering.”

If money were no object, what would you do to make the world a better place?
“I would help feed all the hungry people, provide for the homeless, and provide health insurance for everybody.”

Tell us about your greatest individual accomplishment:
“My greatest accomplishment was receiving my Ph.D. in Latin-American literature from Texas Tech University in 1985.”

When you were a kid, what did you think you’d be doing as an adult?
“Serving my country in the armed forces and contributing to my community in some form.”

If I could do anything, I would:
“Encourage everyone to work towards eliminating violence and drugs from our society.”

Tell us about a happy time:
“My return from Korea and my marriage.”

What’s your favorite TV show, past and present?
“Present would be ‘Walker Texas Ranger’ and ‘Everybody Loves Raymond.’ Past would be ‘Gunsmoke’ and ‘Bonanza.’

What’s your favorite smell?
“Roasted green chile.”

What would you like printed on your gravestone?
“That I made a positive difference in the lives off my students and family.”

What’s your theme song?
“Cruz de Madera.”

What’s your idea of a perfect day?
“Spending the holidays with my family.”

What do you like about your job?
“The satisfaction that my students are learning and succeeding in their education.”

Tell us how you met your spouse:
“I met her while I was teaching in Santa Rosa. She was working as a cashier at the local bank.”

How did you learn to play the accordion?
“My uncle and relatives were all gifted musicians. I learned to play by ear by listening to them.”

What kind of changes have you seen at ENMU and college in general, as well as in students, over the decades you have been teaching?
“The modernization of the campus buildings and the advancement in educational facilities such as computer labs, course offerings and the TV station.”

What would you say is the quickest way to learn Spanish?
“Total immersion in the language, with continued participation and practice. In addition, it is very helpful if a person can live in a Spanish-speaking country and use the language on an everyday basis.”