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Nominate a Latino teacher for an Esperanza Latino Teacher Award

Posted at 5:00 AM, Mar 04, 2022
and last updated 2022-03-11 07:16:17-05

It's your chance to nominate an outstanding Latino teacher at your school!

Chicanos Por La Causa is holding its annual Esperanza Latina Teacher Awards, with nominations due on Friday, March 18, 2022.

Teaching was something that was always on Reyna Damian's mind, even as a little girl.

"I am doing what I wanted to do growing up. Since 3rd grade, I wanted to be a teacher," Damian said. "I work so hard. I spend so many hours planning and teaching and making sure that my students are learning."

And in 2019, CPLC recognized Ms. Damian for all her hard work, giving her the Esperanza Latino Teacher Award.

"We understand that besides our parents, teachers make the most impact on our lives and can really create a significant future for them," explained Andres Contreras, Executive Vice President of Social Services and Education with CPLC.

This year, four Latino teachers across Arizona will each win $5,000 and their schools will receive $2,500.

CPLC has been honoring teachers for more than three decades, but the award has meant more in recent years.

"The last two years have been very stressful so I think it's time to celebrate them even more so and give them that hope that tomorrow will be a little bit brighter."

For Ms. Damian, teaching is more than just a job — it's a lot more personal.

"Making sure that students feel valued... that's a great teacher right there," she said.

And not just valued — but represented. According to the Roosevelt Elementary School District, 81% of their students identify as Hispanic.

"They look around at someone like me and say, 'that could be me.' Especially when you speak Spanish to them. They're like, 'You speak Spanish?!' And I tell them yes, I am just like you. You can do whatever you want as long as you work hard like me."