There was a full house at the Campus Center on Oct.1 when Simón Silva came to speak to Citrus College students.
Silva spoke as part of Hispanic Heritage Month, which celebrates the histories, cultures and contributions of American citizens whose roots trace back to Spain, Mexico, the Caribbean and Central and South America.
Born in Mexicali, he came to the United States to work as a migrant field worker alongside his family.
He recalled having to leave school a month early and return a month and a half late because his family was traveling up and down the west coast working.
Teachers who motivated him to stay in school said that an education would keep him on the right track.
In explaining how much value reading has brought to his life, he mentions how he learned how to grow through Chicano literature.
Silva emphasized that he does not believe education should just be about getting jobs.
“The greatest thing about getting an education is getting an opportunity to find out who you are and what you’re about; what you love, what you absolutely hate and what your abilities are,” he said.
All these ideas inspired his 2014 book, “Cultivate a Creative Mind,” which was the main focus of his presentation.
In his book, he explains how children are the most creative of all since they do not worry about what someone is going to think about a drawing of theirs or what they say; they do things because they like it and have a unique perspective that people tend to grow out of as they get older.
While he does value his education, he explains that some teachers are ill prepared to recognize skills in anything other than math, language arts or science.
“They are not prepared to understand, point out and to nurture the creativity in children,” Silva said.
Silva wants students to see the difference in talent and creativity.
Aside from having talent, he states that being creative will allow people to develop better problem solving skills, better communication, better solutions, and higher self-esteem.
He touched on how the current education system encourages students to focus on getting good grades or to find a job when the main focus should be enjoying the process of learning.
Coming from a poor background and balancing work while attending community college, Silva showed students that there is nothing in their way of getting to where they want to be.
For students who do not know what they want to do with their education or careers, he let them know that they do not have to be restricted to just one thing, reminding them not to lose their creativity.
He wants students to see that the word “creativity” is not narrowed towards specific people anymore.
“[Creativity] is no longer a word reserved exclusively for artists, musicians, or scientists,” Silva said.
“Ushering in a new era in education, the word ‘creativity’ is being heralded as an essential 21st century skill.”