They spend so much time with our children guiding them and shaping them into better people.
And we don’t give them enough credit.
So last week, we took the moment to honor and celebrate the hard work and dedication of four outstanding Latino teachers in our community: Mrs. Perla Apodaca, Mrs. Alicia Isabel Wong, Mrs. Carmen Theresa Villaverde, and Mr. Michael Dominguez.
Thanks to our presenting sponsors Cox and SRP, we were able to surprise them in their classrooms and invite them to the PERA Club last Tuesday to celebrate their achievements with other members of the community. Thanks to your support, we awarded each teacher $5,000 and donated an additional $2,500 to their schools.
This is just one small way we wanted to give back for all they do—and they do so much!
When she received her award, Mrs. Perla Apodaca shared that beyond teaching long division or reading, her goal is to create a safe space where students feel comfortable enough to be themselves. A space that ultimately encourages confident learners, regardless of their current level of academic proficiency.
Teachers—like Home Economics teacher Mrs. Carmen Theresa Villaverde or Mariachi and Marching Band Director Mr. Michael Dominguez—are devoted to their students, their wellbeing, and their success. They help their students gain valuable skills that they can transfer to college, a career, their own business, and their life. They are empowering students and helping them realize they have what it takes.
At one point, Mrs. Alicia Isabel Wong said that if students leave her classroom speaking Spanish, she has done her job. But if they leave her classroom being kinder, more tolerant, and more respectful, then she has accomplished her goal.
Our teachers are providing the support system our children need, which is especially important as we recover from COVID’s lasting effects on our children’s mental health.
Teachers are showing our children how to be kinder, more tolerant people as our nation becomes increasingly divided.
And Latino teachers are serving as role models to Latino youth. So these students see that there are other people who look like them, who speak like them, who think like them. Teachers who understand their cultural background and can help their students navigate the unique obstacles they face and learn to be proud of where they come from.
Mrs. Apodaca, Mrs. Villaverde, Mr. Dominguez, and Mrs. Wong are our silent heroes.
We invite you to learn more about them here.