Sharing Our Stories

When you share your stories with others, you strengthen your courage. – Elena Aguilar

I was first introduced to Angela Censoplano Holmes through twitter. She is part of an Onward book club in San Diego, CA and each month they meet to discuss Onward and they share a picture of their group. I felt like I started to get to know this group through their pictures, posts, and direct messages. Angela would also share about all her adventures with Onward, and I just so appreciated how all in she was at cultivating her resilience.

She has self-published a book, Life is a Classroom: A Teacher’s Journey. Angela’s memoir shares of her personal emotional trauma which she believed paralleled her students’ lives. She sent me a copy a few months ago. On a recent flight, I read it, and I was immediately reminded of the quote at the top of this post. How courageous of Angela to share her story. How powerful to self-publish, just knowing that she wanted to share her story above all else.

Angela shares her personal story of resilience. And as a teacher for 20+ years she shares her students’ stories of resilience as well. She gives glimpses into the lives of her students at National School District 15 miles north of the Mexican border in San Diego, CA. She shares about immigration, incarceration, addiction, mental health issues, and her mother’s return of cancer as she was finishing up her book. Her stories reflect love, commitment, and perseverance. She shares about her students’ courage as well as her own.

I love her insight here about the relationship with her students: “Instead of the differences, now I see the things that make us similar – like humor, pain, suffering, and joy. They bring me joy, and I return int. I soothe their pain and suffering, and they soothe mine. I provide a safe place for them, and they provide a safe place for me. They learn from me, and I learn from them. Life is a classroom, and they are my teachers.”

Her powerful message and the stories she shares puts into practice Elena’s thoughts: “You have courage in your DNA; I’m absolutely sure of it. Find these stories and then share them with others. When you share your stories with others, you strengthen your courage.”

What’s your story? You may not want to self-publish a book, but how can you still find ways to share?


  • AWESOME, AWESOME, AWESOME!!! Great article about how we ARE all the same. I too have read the book and strongly recommend it.

  • Angela is an insightful, thoughtful, and knowledgeable teacher! I am so proud to be her colleague and friend!

  • Angela lifts up all who are lucky to know her. It brings me such joy to see her story elevated in this space. Please read her story… no doubt you will uncover parts of yourself as you turn the pages, too.

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