Arizona teachers receive $1 million in grants from Fiesta Bowl Charities Wishes for Teachers

17 teachers from Tucson and southern Arizona receive $5,000 each to fulfill their classroom wish

Arizona teachers receive $1 million in grants from Fiesta Bowl Charities Wishes for Teachers

TUCSON, Ariz. (KOLD News 13) - As part of its mission to benefit Arizonans through youth, sports and education, the Fiesta Bowl organization and its Fiesta Bowl Charities Wishes for Teachers program, powered by DriveTime has donated $1 million total to 200 Arizona teachers for the second straight year.

At $5,000 each for 200 teachers across the state, 138,447 students, 177 schools, 52 School Districts and 40 cities will be positively impacted.

22 teachers from the Tucson area were selected to receive the grant:

Shawna Kugler – Old Vail Middle School

Robin Rathman – Cienega High School

Sophie Maloney – Edge High School

Sarah Roulan – BASIS Charter School

Curtis Brown – Sonoran Science Academy

Janet Roby – Sycamore Elementary School

Angela Ross – Hughes Elementary School

Paige Riffle – Tanque Verde High School

Ashlee Gibson – Legacy Traditional School

Leesa Smith – Cragin Elementary School

Jeffrey Winkelman – BASIS Charter School

Jenna Robey – Sahuarita Middle School

Kimberlee Medina – Cragin Elementary School

Andrea Garbutt – Desert Willow Elementary School

Erika Tornberg – Walter Douglas Elementary School

Patti Thibaut – Sunnyside High School

Cheryl Heath – Copper Creek Elementary School

Jessica Johnson – Challenger Middle School

LaNell Peck – BASIS Charter School

Ryan Reid – Manzanita Elementary School

Nancy Lange – Pantano High School

Patricia Moore – Canyon View Elementary School

Of the 22 Tucson area wishes, teachers say they plan to purchase biological modeling kits, field trips, 3D laser printers, modern-day furniture and technology for their classrooms.

An elevated Draft Day highlighted the selection and notification of the 200 teachers. Through a full event and livestream production with a virtual set at SNEAKY BIG, a combination of a draft day and telethon brought together local celebrities, community champions and the Fiesta Bowl Family to randomly select and then call teachers to inform them of their award.

“It’s rewarding to see the Fiesta Bowl Charities Wishes for Teachers, powered by DriveTime program grow over the years and be the gold standard for teacher support,” said Patrick Barkley, chairman of the Fiesta Bowl Board of Directors. “My mom was a teacher and we all know teachers who inspire us with selfless work, shaping today’s students into tomorrow’s leaders.”

Each fall, Arizona K-12 public or charter school teachers are invited to fill out an online application detailing their school or classroom need and, after meeting the criteria, wishes are selected by random drawing for teachers to receive a $5,000 grant.

“Teachers are so important in shaping today’s students and tomorrow’s leaders. They work tirelessly and selflessly every day, giving not only their time, but often money from their own pockets,” said Mike Nealy, Fiesta Bowl Executive Director. “Wishes for Teachers supports, honors and celebrates Arizona’s teachers for their commitment to our children and donating $1 million to Arizona’s teachers, provides resources they have only wished to have in the past.”

Each of the unique 200 teacher wishes will benefit teachers and schools in technology, reading, music, fitness and more. Including this season, over the four years of the program, Fiesta Bowl Wishes for Teachers granted $3.2 million to Arizona teachers, impacting over 150,000 children across the state.

“Wishes for Teachers is exceptional in how it helps schools and teachers upgrade facilities, provide needed equipment and support student learning,” said Don Reese, DriveTime Chief Executive Officer. “The great gift of education is very important; as we get educated, we get the meaning of life and that’s how people come together. Wishes for Teachers benefits teachers, an extraordinary vocation that gives the gift of education every day.”

In addition to the financial grant, selected teachers will be recognized in the Desert Financial Fiesta Bowl Parade on Saturday, Dec. 28, and on-field at the Cheez-It® Bowl at Chase Field on Friday, Dec. 27.

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