The University of Texas System honored 19 Socorro ISD educators with the Educators Torch Award as part of the UT-System Chancellor’s “Centurions in Service to Education” program.
Interim superintendent Marta Carmona, M.Ed., and Socorro ISD administration joined representatives from UTEP and visitors from the UT-System to surprise three of the winners at Ernesto Serna School in a special ceremony including the educators’ students.
“I am thankful to UTEP and our district for bringing light to one of the most noble professions there is,” Carmona said. “Teachers do a wonderful job in planting a seed in our students, especially right now when education is facing so many challenges.”
The winners at Ernesto Serna School were Kelsie Vasquez, Dominique Pandy, and Holly Watkins. All 19 of the Socorro ISD Educators Torch Award winners received a $500 Office Depot gift card to assist with school supplies and classroom materials.
“I didn’t expect this, but it was great to see everyone sporting UTEP gear and showing their support,” said Dominique Pandy, a fourth-grade teacher at Ernesto Serna School.
Pandy is a recent UTEP graduate who did her residency for the program at Ernesto Serna. Then, she did an internship before applying for her current position.
“I’m just really thankful to everyone who has helped me along this journey, like my mentors and all the teachers who always offered their support and guidance,” Pandy said. I’m just very blessed to be working in this district, at this campus.”
The Chancellor’s Centurions program was developed to create a network to educate and inspire the next generation of Texas’ higher education and health care volunteer leaders. Centurions are young professionals who understand the value and profound impact of public higher education in Texas.
“If teachers are better equipped to teach, then students are better equipped to learn and if students are better equipped to learn then they perform better and are more likely to go to college. It’s just one of those things that come full circle,” said Aaron Vargas, chair for the UT-System’s Chancellor’s Centurions Program.
Vargas attended the ceremony at Ernesto Serna to personally congratulate the teachers and thank them for their dedication to the profession.
The educators are recent graduates of the University of Texas at El Paso or current residents studying to become teachers. The Educators Torch Award program recognizes early-career teachers (or current UTEP residents) for being advocates of the profession and public higher education.
The UT-System’s Chancellor’s Centurions Program supports the teaching and health care residents who engage with the Chancellor, UT leadership and other leaders interested in promoting higher education and supporting health care initiatives across the state.
Educators Torch Award special ceremony event photos | For our complete coverage of Socorro ISD, click here.