Seventeen teachers in Mesa this week are likely thanking Fiesta Bowl Charities, the charitable arm of the organization that handles the celebrated end-of-the-season football game, and Desert Financial Credit Union for making their wishes come true.
They are among 200 teachers statewide who each will receive $2,500 through the organization’s Wishes for Teachers program, which distributes $500,000 through Desert Financial Credit Union to teachers who apply for consideration.
Each fall, Arizona K-12 public and charter school teachers are invited to apply for a grant by detailing their school or classroom need. Grantees’ names are drawn randomly.
Over the five years of the program, Fiesta Bowl Wishes for Teachers has awarded $3.7 million to more than 840 Arizona teachers, “impacting over 225,000 children across the state,” organizers said.
Each of the unique wishes will benefit teachers and schools in technology, reading, music, fitness and other needs.
“The need this year was more in line with the circumstances related to COVID-19, with more technology needs, plexiglass dividers and flexible seating equipment than ever before,” organizers said in a release.
Both Smith Junior High School teacher Fiorella Acevedo and Edison Elementary’s Lisa Freshley plan to use the money for a classroom makeover while Fremont Junior High’s Karen Blackburn will be buying sensory chairs for her students.
Monique Bourgeois at Silver Valley Elementary, a Queen Creek Unified school in Mesa, is buying reading materials for her class while Brittany Bretz at MacArthur Elementary will be spending her grant on technology to improve reading and math.
Porter Elementary teacher Lindsay Carson wants to provide STEM materials for her students.
Five East Valley Institute of Technology teachers received grants. Jerry Coy wants Chromebooks for all his students; Bruce Haseley wants to upgrade studio lighting to industry standards; Justin Lisonbee has his eye on a new training mannequin for an EMT class; Lorie Lloyd will be buying supplies as her students prep for state board license tests; and Brian Winstead is eyeing new technology resources for the classroom.
Red Mountain High’s Katy Gazda is buying science materials and Skyline High’s Gail Ginther is getting basic supplies for her students.
Two Desert Ridge Junior High teachers are getting their wishes. Rosie Gorton wants STEM and problem-solving materials and Ashley Wyatt wants hands-on learning supplies for students.
O’Connor Elementary teacher Carrie Grantham plans to buy additional reading materials for her classroom.
Mandy Heal at Hale Elementary wants new classroom furniture and Kino Junior High’s Todd Livingston will be providing instruments
for band students who cannot afford to rent or own their own.
Mesa Public Schools Harp Program instructor Charles is buying students additional harps while Rhodes Junior High’s Maria Ramirez and Lincoln Elementary’s Angela Tarter are getting flexible seating.
Franklin East Teacher Cory Trout is getting more comfortable supportive chairs for band students.