Congratulations to Ms. Belgrave on her retirement!


Ms. Maria Belgrave

Ms. Belgrave has been a Spanish teacher at Glenbard West since the fall of 2007. She has taught for West’s Spanish for Heritage Speakers program as well as AP Spanish Language and AP Spanish Literature. However, Ms. Belgrave’s teaching journey began long before she started at Glenbard West.

Ms. Belgrave was born in Venezuela, and she began to express an interest in teaching during high school. She enjoyed leading after school study groups in a variety of subjects: Math, Biology, Chemistry, Physics, and Religion. Her interest in teaching continued throughout college, and she was asked to be a teacher’s assistant. Ms. Belgrave graduated with a bachelor’s degree in Urban Planning from a university in Venezuela. Right after she graduated, she started teaching at the university she had attended.

Ms. Belgrave moved to America, where she earned her associates degree in computer graphics design, which she used to open her own small business. She decided to become an elementary and middle school Spanish teacher upon hearing that her children’s school was looking for one. Ms. Belgrave wanted to teach high school students as well, so she decided to get her masters degree in Secondary Education.

Ms. Belgrave has made an impact on the Glenbard West community by founding the club Latinos Unidos. This club still meets today, but is now known as GLO (Glenbard Latino Organization). She says that being a part of GLO is one of the things she will miss the most during retirement. She loves interacting with students during GLO meetings, because it is a place where  “[they] can embrace [their] culture.” She and her students have made many memories together where they “dance,” “joke,” and “work hard.”

Throughout her years at Glenbard West, Ms. Belgrave has expressed a deep appreciation for the staff and students. She will always remember how she and her colleagues laughed together in the World Language office. She believes that “[West] is a good environment to grow,” because all of the staff “[are] ready to help the students.” Ms. Belgrave has formed meaningful connections with her students at Glenbard West for nearly 15 years. She says, “that connection helps [her] come everyday and have fun with [her] students.” She feels as if working at Glenbard West is a “not like a job,” and more “like a family.” 

When it comes to finding the right career, Ms. Belgrave encourages students to find a job “that will give [them] joy” and “inspire [them] everyday.” Most importantly, she emphasizes that “money is not all.” “Just having the love and the care of the kids everyday, that for me is enough.”

Ms. Belgrave received the teacher of the year award in 2015, and she won the Heart and Soul award twice during her time at West. She describes the Heart and Soul award as a “beautiful recognition,” especially because it is awarded based on student nominations.

As for retirement, Ms. Belgrave and her husband are planning to move to Portugal by the end of the year. They have both been learning Portuguese and are looking forward to the warm weather. They are excited to move there, as it will “give [them] the opportunity to travel around Europe.”

Finally, Ms. Belgrave would like to thank the Glenbard West community for all of their kindness and support over the years. Glenbard West will miss Ms. Belgrave, and we congratulate her on her retirement!