Dra. Antonia Pantoja was born in San Juan, Puerto Rico in 1922 and studied at the University of Puerto Rico where she obtained a Normal School Diploma in 1942. Upon graduating from the University of Puerto Rico, she worked as a schoolteacher for two years in Puerto Rico where she cultivated a profound interest in education and addressing the needs of disadvantaged children. She arrived in New York City in November 1944 where she got a job as a welder in a factory making lamps for children. During these years which involved long hours of hard work, Dra. Pantoja was awakened to the harsh experience of racism and discrimination against Puerto Ricans and how this community lacked the knowledge and political power to overcome these and other challenges in the United States. She became an activist in the factory, providing information to other workers about their rights and how to organize a union. These were the most formative years of her life. But within a few years, the women who welded pieces of filament for submarine radios would rise to weld together a fragmented community, a community much in need of leadership and vision.
ASPIRA of Delaware is a nonprofit organization devoted solely to the education and leadership development of Latino youth. ASPIRA of Delaware is a member of the ASPIRA Association. ASPIRA of Delaware has three signature programs and they are ASPIRA Clubs, ASPIRA Saturday Academy Program and Las Américas ASPIRA Academy. We prepare our students to succeed in the educational arena, develop their leadership skills, and to serve their community. We provide services both to Hispanic students and parents as well as non-Hispanics. The Board of Directors of ASPIRA of Delaware, Inc. is composed of Hispanic Delawareans and others with a passion for education and commitment to the educational and leadership needs of Hispanic students and parents. Many of the state’s Hispanic leaders are members of ASPIRA of Delaware Board of Directors and include educators, attorneys, elected and appointed officials, people from industry, government employees, parents, grassroots community volunteers and leaders with a strong history of community involvement.