It’s hard to imagine a teacher being speechless, but that’s how Rawlinson Middle School history teacher Jennifer Vasquez said she felt when she was surprised at an 8th grade assembly with the ExCEL award.
The ExCEL award is given to outstanding teachers in San Antonio by KENS5-TV and San Antonio Federal Credit Union. KENS Anchor Deborah Knapp and representatives from SACU joined the assembly to present Vasquez with a golden apple and a $1,000 check.
Vasquez praised her fellow eighth grade teachers in the audience and reminded students that their teachers are their champions who believe in them and want them to be successful. Even though the school year is just underway and they’re still getting to know one another, Vasquez praised her students and told them how impressed she was with their dedication thus far.
“My students have made the greatest impact on me because it is their progress that keeps me motivated,” Vasquez says. “Their success means more than any title that I could earn.”
It’s no surprise that this passionate educator is also involved outside the classroom serving as National Junior Honor Society Sponsor, Intramural Coordinator, Tech Team Member, just to name a few.
Vasquez was Rawlinson’s 2014 Educator of the Year and has been teaching for five years. She also worked as an instructional assistant for three years at Rawlinson while pursuing a degree in history and her teacher certification from Texas A&M University at San Antonio.
“I encourage students to reach their full potential every day,” Vasquez says. “I love teaching history because it teaches my students that ordinary people have done extraordinary things to change the course of our country and world.”
Vasquez’s husband also teaches at Rawlinson and was there for the surprise along with his parents and Vasquez’s brother.
“Since most of my immediate family lives out of state, my husband and in-laws are a tremendous support system,” Vasquez says. “They are all teachers. Together we share stories, encouragement, and give each other the strength we need to be champions for our students.”
Visit the KENS-5 ExCEL Awards website to learn more about this award-winning educator.