The top 5% of the Rio Rico High School 2018 graduating seniors and their invited special educators were honored at the 7th Annual Excellence in Education Banquet sponsored by the Friends of the SCVUSD No. 35 Foundation. The event was held at the Tubac Golf Resort.
The seventeen students were honored for their educational achievements and, in turn, they each honored the educator making the biggest impact on their academic success.
The evening began with a patio reception with the Rio Rico Jazz Combo playing background music. Band members included Anacarolina Espinoza (Saxophone), Matthew Gray (Piano), Luis Martinez (Saxophone), Jesus Murillo (Saxophone), Luis Rivera (Trumpet), August Roquet, (Drums), Jon Soto (Trumpet), Antonio Virgen (Trumpet) and Frank Thysell (Bass).
Francisco Padilla, Foundation President, and Melisa Lunderville, President-Elect, were the hosts for the evening.
The Keynote Speaker was Nadine Mathis Basha, Chair of First Things First Board. She directed her comments to the influential educators and students.
“[Educators], you’re in a profession that I know that you deeply love, but one that has not always deeply loved you back. But, your faith and commitment to educate future generations has really been profound because your classroom door is the threshold of the greatest equalizer of all – and that is public education,” said Basha. “Your students here tonight are proof of that. I really do believe that being selected as an important influence in a student’s life is something that every teacher strives for and aspires to be.”
“[Students], the greatest challenge you may face is believing in yourself,” said Basha. “It wasn’t until I attended graduate school that I started believing in my own abilities and my own voice . . . so, according to Shakspeare, ‘This above all, to thine own self be true. And, it must follow, as the night the day, thoust can’t then be false to any man.’ In other words, be yourself; listen to your inner voice to find your purpose. And, be true to others.”
Students received a certificate of achievement and a $500 scholarship. The evening concluded with a video recording of each student explaining why they chose their guest teacher as the educator that made the biggest impact in their educational lives.
“The wonderful thing about our banquet is that we not only get to recognize the top performing students for their hard work and dedication, but we also get to recognize those educators who helped them get to where they are,” said Padilla. “As we know, education is a cornerstone to a successful and thriving society, and I have no doubt that the students and educators we honor play a significant role in strengthening our community.”