December 2023 Community Spotlight: Norma Cano

Norma Cano at Ivanhoe Library, Photo by Esmeralda Garcia.

By: Esmeralda Garcia, Ivanhoe Sol

Norma Cano resides in Ivanhoe but was born in Anahuac, Nuevo Leon, Mexico and was only two years old when her family immigrated to the United States. Cano’s family were migrant farm workers who would follow work from Texas to Michigan. Growing up in Mirando City and Laredo, Texas her love for books showed from a very young age. She would visit the Laredo Public Library as often as she could. This helped her obtain good grades and eventually scholarships to Our Lady of the Lake University in San Antonio and the University of Texas at Austin, where she obtained her BA in Liberal Studies and a Masters in Liberal Science.


In 1979, Mrs. Cano moved to California with her biggest supporter and late husband Gilbert Cano. She was married to her husband for forty-seven years and he served on the Ivanhoe Public Utilities governing board for over twenty-five years. She is also the mother of two adult sons. She has worked in the field of education for all of her career. Mrs. Cano and her husband first moved to Ivanhoe in 1980 and she remembers people meeting in yards, sitting on folding chairs for church because there was no Catholic Church. She also remembers Ivanhoe community members coming together during the terrible freeze in the 90’s when they had a coat drive at Ivanhoe Elementary School.


Her career experience includes being a third-grade teacher at Ivanhoe Elementary School from 2003-2010, Adjunct Librarian at College of the Sequoias, Librarian- Media Teacher at Redwood High School, District Librarian for Cutler- Orosi Unified, a Bilingual Teacher in Woodlake and Lindsay and a Migrant Education Teacher for Corcoran High School. Another experience she shared was teaching adult citizenship and English As A Second Language classes for Proteus and the Visalia Adult School.


Cano has always believed in volunteer work and has been an active member of the Tulare County League of Mexican American Women since it was established in 1979 and was President of the Organization in 2018-2019. She enjoys raising money for scholarships through this organization. She also enjoys working with students to help them achieve their educational goals so they can obtain a better life for themselves and their families. Historical projects are also something Cano enjoys doing and was part of the documentation on the history of Tagus Ranch which can be seen in the Annie R. Mitchell History Room of the Tulare County Library. She hopes to document the history of the J.D. Martin Ranch. She has volunteered at the Ivanhoe Public Library once a week since 1986. They do craft kits with students and adults in the community. She has helped establish Friends of the Ivanhoe Library where she serves as the Secretary. 


Mrs. Cano is hoping for the community of Ivanhoe to bring a Senior Citizen service. Their first community meeting will occur on February  29, 2024, at 10:00 AM at the Ivanhoe Memorial Building. She sees the need for a place for Senior Citizens and feels we need to share the resources that our county has to offer. Lastly, Mrs. Cano shares what her parents would always tell her: “Haz el bien, sin saber a quien”, which translates to: “do good without having to know to who.”


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