The Alice Independent School District held their 2017-2018 Employee Appreciation Banquet Wednesday evening at the Alice High School Activity Center where they announced the teachers of the year and the Alice Alumni Award winner.

The banquet began with a dinner before Alice ISD employees were recognized. The winners for primary and secondary Teacher of the Year were announced towards the end of the banquet.

The winner for primary Teacher of the Year was Selina Mendietta from Schallert Elementary. Mendietta has been a teacher for four years.

"I started my career in special therapy working with children with disabilities. I loved what I did, but I knew that my passion was somewhere else and so I went into teaching," she said. "I'm ecstatic. I never expected to get it."

The secondary Teacher of the Year was Katie Barrera from the Alice High School. Barrera has been a teacher for 27 years. Her career started because of her four children.

“I'm honored. For those kids who come back and said I made a difference it just makes it all worth it," Barrera said. "I didn't expect it. Because all of the teachers that I work with are great teachers and to be honored by my peers is very meaningful. I work with a lot of great teachers and they helped me be the teacher of the year. They make me look good."

Nominees were chosen by their peers at their campus. A committee then goes through each applicant and chooses the winner.

Other nominees included DAEP David Delgado, MiReina Garcia and Krystina De La Rosa from Dubose Intermediate, Dalia Maldonado from Hillcrest Elementary, Mary R. Garcia Elementary's Gabriele Zamora, Stephanie Villarreal and Gayle Garza from Memorial Intermediate, Marisol Barrera from Noonan Elementary and Javier Garcia from Saenz Elementary.

The Alice ISD Alumni Award went to Norberto Manrique Jr.

"I'm truly humbled and honored to be here before you tonight to accept the Alice Alumni Award," Manrique said. "It's hard to believe that I graduated from Alice High 29 years ago; Class of '89 alumni. Since than I've been on quite the adventure."

Manrique is married to Eileen. They live in Northern Virginia with their dog, Rocket.

Manrique enlisted in the United States Air Force in 1989. Upon graduation from technical training at Goodfellow Air Force Base in San Angelo, Texas, he began his journey as a Geospatial-Intelligence (GEOINT) Imagery Analyst. After a successful 20-year military career, he retired in 2009 from his final assignment at the Pentagon in Washington, D.C. and joined the corporate world as a federal contractor. In late 2017, Manrique became a federal employee and currently serves as a GEOINT Sources Integration Analyst.

Awards and gifts were distributed to employees of Alice ISD.