Earlier this year, the Tony the Tiger Sun Bowl, in partnership with the College Football Playoff Foundation, recognized El Paso Teachers of the Year as part of the annual Extra Yard for Teachers campaign.
Extra Yard for Teachers is the focus of the College Football Playoff Foundation. The initiative empowers educators through resources, recognition, professional development, recruitment and retention.
“As educators, our job is to impact children and make a difference in the world one student at a time,” said Joselyn Zuñiga, the 2023 Region 19 Elementary Teacher of the Year. “We don’t do this for the recognition, but when we get it, it is very much appreciated.”
Zuñiga is a teacher at Lorenzo G. Alarcon Elementary in the San Elizario Independent School District.
Zuñiga and the other 2022-2023 District Teachers of the Year were surprised by Tony the Tiger, the Sun Bowl Association and district dignitaries during campus visits in September.
Sun Bowl Association Executive Director Bernie Olivas presented each teacher with a football game day kit, including a gift card for classroom supplies, a t-shirt, football memorabilia and other goodies.
“A lot of my students, including myself, had never met Tony the Tiger, so it was a fun and memorable moment,” Zuñiga said. “The excitement in their faces as I was being recognized was truly priceless.”
For Hector Juarez, the Secondary Region 19 Teacher of the Year, the highlight was being invited to the Sun Bowl Parade and spending time with the community and fellow educators.
“What makes El Paso a great city to live in is the quality people we have; so, to be part of this amazing community event was truly an honor,” Juarez said.
Juarez, an eighth-grade science teacher at Canutillo Middle School, has been in the profession for 20 years. He says education is a gr-r-reat profession where, like the famous Tiger, he gets to help students, teachers, parents, and the community.
“It’s a blessing to give back,” Juarez said. “I love giving advice to new or struggling teachers and sharing what’s worked for me or what I’ve learned in the process. And because this profession is all about giving, it means a lot when we are honored and appreciated! It shows that others value what we do and motivates us to continue improving.”
CFP Foundation Executive Director Britton Banowsky said they believe teachers across the country are the key to the future of our next generation.
As a result, they use the resources and power of college football to make a positive difference in teachers’ lives in the hope that every student has a great teacher to support their learning.
“With a great teacher in their lives, our students will more likely achieve success, and our communities will be strong with an educated workforce,” Banowsky said. “They are critical contributors that don’t get the support and recognition they deserve.”
Learn more about the CFP Foundation and Extra Yard for Teachers at cfp-foundation.org.
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