Honoring Education's Heroes

by Allison Oster '01

Surrounded by colorful building blocks and giant LEGO men, on June 4, 2005, San Diego community members celebrated the men and women who dedicate their time and energy to building up today’s youth. Sponsored by Azusa Pacific University, KSON-FM 97.3 and 92.1, San Diego National Bank, and LEGOLAND California, the annual Teachers Are Heroes Awards Presentation honored 11 educators for the 2004-05 school year. K-8 students and parents filled the stands at LEGOLAND’s Fun Town Stage to cheer the recipients and thank them for their dedication. “As teachers, we see how important it is for children to grow up ready to face the world with the tools necessary to be successful,” said honoree Angela Hazel, special education teacher at Oakhill Elementary School in Escondido. “Words cannot express how thankful I am to be selected for the Teachers Are Heroes award. I am excited to be a part of an event that appreciates the educators in our towns.”

The Teachers Are Heroes Program recognizes one out of more than 27,000 San Diego County-based educators every month. Teachers are selected based on essays submitted to Jefferson Pilot radio stations and reviewed by a panel of judges. Honorees receive gift certificates for school supplies, a classroom party, restaurant gift certificate, and a recognition plaque. During the LEGOLAND presentation, Richard Thome, assistant superintendent of the San Diego County Office of Education, spoke about the incredible value that teachers possess, recognizing the impact they make on their students. Following the remarks, Diane Guido, Ph.D., APU’s vice provost for undergraduate programs, presented each educator with an award.

The 2004-05 recipients include: Susan Acosta, Palmquist Elementary; Elena Bolanos, King Chavez School; Christopher Faist, Carmel Valley Middle School; Bill Getz, Washington Middle School; Elizabeth Guzman, Nestor Elementary School; Angela Hazel, Oak Hill Elementary; Mark Nelson, Lewis Middle School; Michelle Shaver, Sage Canyon Elementary School; Vicki Simonelli, New Song Christian School; Jill Stathis, Ramona Community School; and Barbara Williams, Cuyamaca Elementary School. Nominations are now being accepted for 2005-06 and may be submitted in the form of 500 words-or-less essays to www.kson.com, www.kifm.com, www.fm949sandiego.com, or at Teachers Are Heroes, 1615 Murray Canyon Road, Ste. 710, San Diego, CA 92108. For more information, contact APU’s San Diego Regional Center at (619) 718-9655.