© 2024 WYSO
Our Community. Our Nation. Our World.
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00 0:00
Available On Air Stations
Crossing borders, overcoming obstacles, starting life over again in a new country. WYSO's radio series The Bind That Ties brings you the stories of immigrants from around the Miami Valley.

The Bind That Ties: Zous and Josie Garcia

Husband and wife  — Zous and Josie Garcia — came to the US as students in 1967.
Courtesy of Zous and Josie Garcia
Husband and wife — Zous and Josie Garcia — came to the US as students in 1967.

Meet Zous and Josie Garcia — husband and wife — who came to the US as students in 1967. They’ve both taught school in the Miami Valley and Zous was a principal for 18 years. They’ve also had their own small business and today, grateful for they help they had along the way, they have a foundation — to try and help others.

(Editor's Note: This transcript has been lightly edited for clarity.)

Zous Garcia: My name is Zosimo Garcia and they called me Zous for short.

Josie Garcia: People here pronounce it, Josefina. But because we've been under the Spanish regime, so I guess the name is more Jose, then Fina, So Josefina, is that really the real pronunciation of my real name. But they just call me Josie.

Zous: I came from the Philippines in 1967. I came over to study here , my master's degree. I was a teacher already in the Philippines for one year.

Josie: I also came in 1967, but I was single then. I met him here in 1968. I came here to teach Home Economics and Science subjects at the Piqua Catholic High School in Piqua, Ohio. And then a year after. That's how I met him. Some somewhere in Troy, through some friends. When I first came, it was really, this is a culture shock because it's so different from from where we came from with regards to the students and the weather. Everything. I have to adjust to all of that. And another thing that I have to overcome is how I deal with these students, because the subject that was teaching was something that is a little bit difficult for the students because a lot of them, they don't really care so much for science subjects. A lot of them, they think that I am like one of them. I have to stay on my ground that they show that I am the one that's running the the classroom.

Zous: I started here as a student and finally I got a job at a grocery store which pays $1.90, during that time. I worked there during daytime and at night I go to school at Central State to finish my master's degree. Finally, I landed a job as a substitute teacher. But there are some people who mentioned to me that I cannot teach here in the United States. I came from the Philippines and I have a heavy accent. I was determined during that time that I will prove it to them, that I will be able to do it.

When I was interviewed by the assistant superintendent for a job and I was only 21 years old, he asked me, 'What are you going to do if you're a students don't understand what you said.' And I said, 'I will repeat it again. And they don't understand it. I am going to write it on the board and they cannot read it. I will make a gesture out of it.' And he just smiled and I finally landed a job as a teacher in Xenia, Ohio. After five years, I applied for a principal's job. However, the first time that I applied, they didn't even interview me. I was so disappointed. After a couple of years as a counselor, I started as a principal part time, and after that I became a principal for 18 years. We started our business in 1973 in Wilmington, Ohio. Cake and candy supplies. I even borrowed the money — $500 from credit union because I don't want to spend my money. So that's how we started in a small room. And I told her, don't get any money from the business. We will just roll it over.

Josie: We have like only three shelves. Going back to that, thinking now of what we have in the inventory, I don't know how we did it.

Zous: I retired '98 and I have already 30 years experience in education. There are lots of people that help and help our family, and I will never forget them. Our goal right now is to be able to help others.

Josie: We organized this foundation. And we call it Share Foundation. Share — It means support for humanitarian assistance, relief and education. This foundation means a lot to me. I mean, even if it is small one. I know that I'm helping others, especially this time with all this going on. We have to learn how to share. We have to learn how to get along. And I guess this would be a better way to live.

Mojgan started her full-time work after completing a Ph.D. in Artificial Intelligence. After a very successful 28 year career as a technical geek, she retired in 2017. While working she attended community voices weekend classes in 2014 and graduated as a Community Voice producer for WYSO Public Radio in Yellow Springs, Ohio. After retirement, Mojgan’s turned to the arts and volunteering activities. She proposed creating community voices stories to highlight immigrants’ voices and contributions in the Miami valley. Her first season production of “The Bind that Ties” in 2020 won first prize in the Radio Documentary of the Associated Press. Season two of the series was broadcast in 2022.