Community Hero: Corey Mason, a Teacher Who Changed My Life

Profile, Monet Boyd

On the outside, Corey Mason is a regular fellow with long thick hair, which he wears pulled back in a ponytail. His “uniform” almost always consists of some sort of inspirational t-shirt, with black pants and comfortable shoes. His braided goatee makes slight movements every time he speaks.

On the inside, he is a man of peace, virtue, and love.

Mr. Mason teaches Spanish 1, where he teaches his estudiantes to be bilingue. But he also finds time to teach a radio production class and manages keCg, a local radio station that broadcasts out of a studio at my school, El Cerrito High. He’s been teaching for 15 years.

When he’s not in the classroom, he hosts the famous WorldOne Festival, a world music and circus fest that takes place every Fourth of July in the El Cerrito. He believes in music, and feels it is what brings us all together. He tells us: “Music is magical.”

He did not start out as a teacher. After learning to speak Spanish as a 7th grader in New York, he went on to master the language. That skill led him to a number of different experiences: he became a flight attendant, worked as a surgical nurse in Guatemala, spent some time in Hollywood, and only eventually landed in his current place as an educator and radio host.

He became a teacher with the intention of doing great things for others. It isn’t always easy: He has been threatened by his own students, as well as grieved for others who he’s lost — but none of it has stopped him from continuing to teach and enlighten young people with the knowledge he carries.

Mr. Mason has traveled the world, but feels that Richmond is where he should be. “Richmond is soulful, hopeful, hardworking, and has willing citizens… and that is why I love Richmond,” he says. “Teaching is my social work.”

He strives to improve the people around him. He takes the initiative to make the change he wants to see.

Mr. Mason also tries his best to connect to his students, and many of his students can honestly say that he succeeds. Mr. Mason will tell you that he is most in “harmony” with high school students, because of his own adolescent spirit.

One thing that makes Mr. Mason a good teacher is the way he speaks to his students. He doesn’t treat any of us like children. He is open, taking the time to listen and receive what his students have to say. When he teaches he breaks the material down, so you are able to learn it and remember it. But what I like most about Mr. Mason’s class – he’s been my teacher for one semester — is how he relates each lesson to everyday life, in order to show how our education will help us in the long run.

For many students at EL Cerrito High, Mr. Mason is one of the best men in the world, one who seems to know about almost everything. He tries his best to make his students think about the long run, and to understand that what they do now, will affect their future.


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