Pictured: Carlos De La Garza, a math teacher at Alice High School, was named the district's Secondary Teacher of the Year. Photo by OFELIA GARCIA HUNTER

Other awards presented at annual appreciation banquet

Ofelia Garcia Hunter, Alice Echo-News Journal

The school district's Teachers of the Year caught some by surprise as the winners were announced at the Alice ISD banquet Thursday evening.

"I was not expecting it, I am very happy, I got teary-eyed. It's a nice thing to be recognized," said Linda Valerio, a teacher at Memorial Intermediate who was named the district's Elementary Teacher of the Year.

"Everybody gives it 100 percent at Memorial, we all work hard."

Twelve teachers were nominated by their peers at each of the Alice school campuses.

From the 12 nominees, two Teachers of the Year will advance to Region 2 competition. They are Carlos De La Garza, as Secondary Teacher of the Year from Alice High School and Valerio.

De La Garza was selected as a nominee in 1983 and Valerio also was a past nominee in 2001.

Runners-up were Graciela Barrett for secondary and Claudia Garcia for elementary.

Garcia, who has been teaching for 30 years, said she is honored to have been selected as runner-up.

"I was honored because colleagues vote for you and it means a lot," she said. "I enjoy what I do, I enjoy working with children and seeing them grow."

De La Garza said his teaching success comes with the help of others.

"I can tell you that it's an honor to be listed with the other teachers," De La Garza said. "I'm here because I've stood on the shoulders of giants and Alice High School has a lot of giants."

Valerio said her 11 years at Memorial have been wonderful.

"I wouldn't change it for the world," she said. "It's my home away from home."

De La Garza agreed.

"It's gone by fast," said De La Garza about teaching for 22 years.

"My hair has gone by fast, too."