PHOENIX — A million dollars in grant money has been awarded to teachers across the state as part of the Fiesta Bowl’s efforts to honor, celebrate and support local teachers.
12 News was there when Michael Angel Gutierrez, a music teacher at Sunland Elementary School, near 7th and Southern Avenues, was awarded one of the Desert Financial Fiesta Bowl Wishes for Teachers grants.
“This is amazing. I’m shocked. You know, it’s like it still hasn’t settled in there yet,” Gutierrez exclaimed. “There’s a lot of emotions happening.”
It’s not easy teaching children to read and play music. It’s even harder when the instruments are damaged, old, and falling apart.
“It’s really, really tough to make sounds when the instrument is broken and constantly gets broken because of how old or damaged it is,” Gutierrez said.
On Thursday, Officials with the Fiesta Bowl Charities surprised Mr. Gutierrez in front of his students with the announcement that he had been one of 400 teachers to receive the $2,500 grant.
The Desert Financial Fiesta Bowl Wishes for Teachers provides $1 million in grant money to teachers across the state.
For Mr. Gutierrez, that money will go into the hands of his students in the form of new instruments.
“You can see he is incredibly passionate about teaching and so I hope these additional resources only make his life a little bit easier and allow him to share that passion with his students,” Kristina Chumpol, the Community Relations Director for the Fiesta Bowl, explained.
Hand-me-downs, that’s how most of Sunland Elementary School has acquired their musical instruments. For a school that emphasizes musical arts in education, this grant money will go a long way in helping the school realize its mission.
“All students should have music,” said Amanda Hicks, the Principal at Sunland Elementary. “All students should learn to play an instrument because it’s so important to a well-rounded education.”
This is the sixth year that the Fiesta Bowl Charities have held the Desert Financial Fiesta Bowl Wishes for Teachers program.
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