David Hirst completed his undergraduate degree of Spanish Education at Illinois Wesleyan in 1980 and received a Master’s in Spanish American Literature from Illinois State University in 1998. Through college he worked with the Illinois Farm Worker Ministry where he edited and published a community newsletter called La Voz del Campo, set up a community garden, advocated for farm worker needs to the company, and helped organize support for The United Farm Workers Movement. When David graduated from Illinois Wesleyan, he worked as the recruiter/liaison between the school and the migrant communities in the Princeville area as well as working with migrant farm workers and their children in the Peoria area.
The summers after David graduated, he taught Spanish in Lincoln, Illinois and in the Normal Unit 5 school system where he served as the head of the World Language Department at Normal West for 12 years. After completing his master’s, he attained National Board Certification in World Languages other than English. During his time in the education field, he was awarded a Golden Apple Fellowship for his excellence in teaching.
Due to his interest in world culture, David has been active as a board member with GlobalFest Illinois, the statewide World Languages and Culture Festival, since its inception as well as a lifetime member of the American Association of Teachers of Spanish and Portuguese. David recently retired from the World Language Department Chair position in May of 2015 and joined The Immigration Project’s board the same year.