Desert Financial Fiesta Bowl Charities Wishes for Teachers gives $1M to local educators

Posted 11/30/21

An annual tradition to honor, support and celebrate educators, the Fiesta Bowl Organization has awarded $1 million to local teachers through the Desert Financial Fiesta Bowl Charities Wishes for Teachers program in early November.

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Desert Financial Fiesta Bowl Charities Wishes for Teachers gives $1M to local educators

Posted

An annual tradition to honor, support and celebrate educators, the Fiesta Bowl Organization has awarded $1 million to local teachers through the Desert Financial Fiesta Bowl Charities Wishes for Teachers program in early November.

The 400 Arizona teachers, chosen as recipients, represent 300 schools in 63 cities statewide; teach more than 200,000 students in 84 districts; and teach over 75 subjects from social studies to special education, according to a press release.

The teachers include more than 25 from across the northeast valley.

“They may not wear capes, but teachers are real-life superheroes. They give tirelessly to their students and Wishes for Teachers is our opportunity to reward them for their efforts,” said Jeff Meshey, Desert Financial president/CEO, in a release.

“Desert Financial was founded by teachers—we continue their legacy by returning as the title partner for this year’s Wishes for Teachers, in partnership with Fiesta Bowl Charities. Teachers often pay for school supplies out of their own pockets, so there’s no greater way to express our gratitude than by granting their classroom wishes.”

During a three-day Virtual Draft Day, presented by Salt River Project, the selected teachers were each given $2,500 to grant a wish in their classrooms, the release said.

Winners were chosen from a program in the fall where any Arizona K-12 teacher could submit an online application detailing a school or classroom need. Wishes were verified and selected by random drawing for teachers to receive a grant.

Over the six years of the program, Fiesta Bowl Wishes for Teachers has granted $4.7 total million to more than 1,200 teachers statewide, impacting more than 500,000 children in the state, noted the release.

“I love Desert Financial Fiesta Bowl Charities Draft Day presented by SRP, it is so exciting when we call each teacher to let them know their name was selected as a grant recipient,” said Patrick Barkley, chairman of the Fiesta Bowl Board of Directors, in the release.

“Wishes for Teachers is well-known around the state as the preeminent program for teacher support. My mom was a teacher, and we all know teachers who inspire us with their selfless work.”

Some classroom wishes granted included:

  • Daniel Quinones, a Ridgeline High School math teacher, will purchase scientific calculators for his class.
  • Irene Camarasa, a Desert Willow Elementary School science and social studies teacher, will buy equipment and resources for the school newspaper.
  • Rayann Gionet, a Paradise Valley High School occupational health teacher, will get updated hospital beds for the health class.
  • Kimberly Skinner, a Wildfire Elementary School fourth grade, will furnish her classroom with inclusive furniture for their classroom.
  • Jordan Wolf, a Boulder Creek Elementary School kindergarten teacher, will provide iPads for the class.
  • Morgan Routh, a Shea Middle School English teacher, will provide a classroom library makeover and purchase additional books for the class.
  • Robin Zeligman, a Mercury Mine Elementary School STEM teacher, will purchase robots for the science class.
  • Lara Lieberman, a Horizon High School community based instruction and social living teacher, will buy updated appliances and materials for the Life Skills class for students with disabilities.
  • Colette Jobin, a Desert Shadows Middle School world languages teacher, will create a classroom library with French and Spanish books for the students.
  • Liz Keith, a Norterra Canyon Elementary School kindergarten teacher, will purchase supplies for hands-on learning for students to develop their motor skills.

“Teachers are our unsung heroes, who give so much to our students in helping them become tomorrow’s leaders. Giving them a spotlight for their selfless work and support them with extra resources is an important part of the Fiesta Bowl’s commitment to our community,” said Mike Nealy, Fiesta Bowl executive director, in a release.

“Thanks to our partners Desert Financial and SRP, Wishes for Teachers help rewards Arizona’s teachers and give them a step forward in ways they may have only wished.”

For more information, or for a full list of granted wishes: fiestabowl.org.

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