Twelve Team SISD teachers were selected by former students to be recognized in the College Football Playoff Foundation Extra Yard for Teachers initiative, which was supported by the University of Texas at El Paso Athletics Department and Conference USA.
The Extra Yard for Teachers initiative aims to reward outstanding teachers in the community who inspire UTEP student-athletes from the El Paso area and contribute to their academic success.
“Through the CFP foundation everyone across the country is inspiring and empowering quality teachers,” said UTEP Athletic Director Bob Stull. “Utilizing our student-athletes to recommend the recipients was a lot of fun.”
To champion their great teachers, the student athletes wrote stories on how their educators helped transform their lives.
“Albert Martinez, my high school band director, is one of the most influential individuals I have gratefully come by,” said track athlete Markos Lujan. “He made me realize my potential and was the reason I continued on to college knowing that I had what it takes to be successful.”
Another student-athlete, Ana Molinar, said it was her teacher, Patricia Arellano, who prepared her for the real-world, and thanks to her, she is now successful.
“I am a successful college-athlete because she pushed me to break my personal limits and helped me reach my goals,” Molinar said. “She remains being a motivation because she still believes in me.”
The Extra Yard recipients were: Carol Hardee, John Espinoza and Michelle Luna from Americas High School, Oscar McLure, Patricia Arellano, Roman Hernandez and Aurea Herrera from Montwood High School, Timothy McDonald, Barbara Wright and Kenta Matsuda from Socorro High School, along with Albert Martinez from Eastlake High School and Katerina Lopez from Sun Ridge Middle School.
The educators were honored by the SISD school board, Dr. Espinoza, Bob Stull, and student athletes at the board meeting Dec. 12.
“It means a lot that a student took time to recognize me,” Wright said. “I’m happy that I was able to make an impression and positive impact in her life by sharing my knowledge and helping her move forward.”
As part of the Extra Yard for Teachers initiative, the recipients were awarded with $100 gift cards from Michael’s store as an appreciation for their dedication to their students and to help decrease out-of-pocket expenses for classroom supplies.
In addition, UTEP and Conference USA provided Team SISD with 20 extra gift cards to reward more teachers in the district for their outstanding service and commitment.
“I felt very honored to be remembered by a student,” Lopez said. “Knowing I made a change in her life reaffirms that I am in the right profession. With this gift card I plan to buy supplies for my kiddos and use it to buy a happy planner.”