Pinoy Robotics Guy Is California’s Teacher Of The Year

by Elpidio R. Estioko

“Education is a way out of poverty! Education has brought me to the U.S. and as a Filipino immigrant, I am determined to help others just as I helped myself. I teach my students to harness their individual talents to greater heights.”

This is what Filipino American engineering teacher and robotic instructor Joseph Alvarico said when he was honored with the 2024 California Teacher of the Year Award.

As one of the five awardees, Alvarico is a resident of Antioch, California and teaches at Ygnacio Valley High School in Concord, California.

According to Contra Costa County Office of Education Superintendent of Schools Lynn Mackey, she is proud that a teacher from their county was awarded.

“Joseph is a great example of the high-quality teaching and learning going on in Contra Costa County schools every day and it’s a great honor for him to be selected as a California Teacher of the Year,” Mackey said.

“Congratulations to him, his colleagues and Mt. Diablo Unified School District (MDUSD) for the support they have given him throughout this process and the career.”

Alvarico’s strength as a teacher is about involving himself in the community.

“I work with non-profit organizations (like Mount Diablo Education Foundation, Rotary Club, and Bay Area LEEDS); large and mid-size corporations (Chevron, Marathon, PG & E, Bishop Wisecarver); and local businesses to bring industry partners in my classroom for guest speaking, informational interviews, mentorship, and internships,” he shared.

“These community collaborators also help with providing funds for the different programs I run in school.”

Born in his parent’s ancestral home in Guiguinto, Bulacan, Alvarico was raised in Manila where he took his elementary and high school education from private and public schools.

His parents, Oscar and Gloria Alvarico, were both public school teachers in Metro Manila, but Alvarico never dreamed of being a teacher. His path to education and teaching was thanks to a full scholarship he received from De La Salle University (DLSU) in Manila.

“I applied to DLSU to take up medicine, but I was informed by the admissions office that with both parents in public school as teachers, it may not sustain a medical course at DLSU. However, when they saw my high school grades in Manila Science High School, they offered me a full scholarship on the condition that I have to take education courses and teach in the university for at least a year after graduation,” he explained.

“I agreed and that’s how by accident, I landed in education. Although after teaching for a year, I learned to love the profession.”

With the scholarship, he earned his degrees in Biology and Secondary Education. He went on to teach biology at Philippine Cultural High School and Chiang Kai Shek College High School. He even became a programmer for Fujitsu, Technology Integration Specialist for Net Curricula, Inc., and Multimedia Designer for Universal Worker Inc.

Alvarico’s combined real work experiences with teaching and the tech industry enabled him to teach beyond the textbooks. As an engineering teacher and robotics instructor, he teaches students how to build robots to join the district and community robotic competitions.

“I am the advisor for the FIRST Robotics team 7137, Femineer- an all-girls engineering club, and Interact – Rotary International’s service club for young people. I am also the coordinator for the College and Career Access Pathway (CCAP) STEM at Ygnacio Valley High. The CCAP-STEM program is a dual enrollment program in partnership with Diablo Valley College (DVC), where students earn college credits while in high school. I am also an adjunct professor at DVC,” he explained.

Alvarico moved to the U.S. in 2004 after seeing an ad while working as a Multimedia Designer at Universal Workers, Inc.

“It is here where I saw the ad from Mt. Diablo looking for teachers. As a media tech submitting materials to the various daily newspapers for publication, I buy the copies and submit the ad materials for publication myself. I responded to the ad and then the Mt. Diablo recruiter came to the Philippines to interview me. Then the rest is history,” Alvarico said.

He is married with one child who are both in the Philippines, but they will be joining him soon in California. Alvarico is now a permanent resident waiting to become a U.S. Citizen.

Congratulations to Joseph Alvarico! You deserve the Teacher of the Year Award. Your students are very lucky to have you, a distinguished and determined instructor of engineering and robotics!

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was a veteran journalist in the Philippines and an award-winning journalist here in the US. He just published his book Unlocking the Chain of Poverty: In Pursuit of the American Dream which is now available at Amazon, Barnes & Noble and Xlibris Publishing. For feedbacks, comments… please email author at

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