Wishes for teachers.

Thanks to the generosity of Palo Verde Fiesta Bowl Charities’ Wishes for Teachers program, three Arcadia educators scored big for their classrooms in November. They now have $2,500 each to spend on school supplies, teaching tools and programs that will make a difference for their students – emotionally and academically. 

Emily Deck of Hopi Elementary, Emily Emmons of Tavan and Isabelle Reiter of Biltmore Prep were the recipients of the grant, which provides funding directly to teachers and their classrooms. The trio was among 400 across Arizona. 

To receive the grant, K-12 public and charter school teachers complete an online application detailing school and classroom wishes. In addition, they elaborate on how the purchases will benefit students. Fiesta Bowl Charities then partners with DonorsChoose, another nonprofit, to award the recipients.

Through the Fiesta Bowl organization’s two bowl games and community events, they donate three-five million dollars each year to education and nonprofits that contribute to the success of communities.

“Many teachers relate that they often have to spend their own dime investing in much-needed supplies for their classroom,” Sandra Avila, Manager of Community Relations for the Fiesta Bowl, said. “This program is a way to support teachers who are the heart of the classroom.” 

Emmons teaches early intervention strategies to three to five-year-olds at Tavan. 

“These are all special needs children. Some are language impaired, while others have cerebral palsy or down syndrome. They are mixed in the classroom, and each receives an individualized plan, which is a challenge,” Emmons said. “I plan to purchase books and manipulatives that can help kids with finger and hand strength, such as Playdough. Even with physical therapists and occupational therapists available, I still need help.”

Reiter, who teaches French at Biltmore Prep, said she was very excited when she learned she was a grant recipient. 

“I don’t have a curriculum on-site, so I’ve been buying them online. I also need iPads to teach vocabulary; this grant money will pay for it. I only had to add 50 dollars of my own money. I couldn’t believe it when I won. I am so grateful,” she said. 

A fourth-grade teacher, Deck has projects picked out that align with Hopi’s goals: to help students become more confident, involved, compassionate, and empathetic leaders and community members through service learning. 

Deck’s philanthropic projects include visiting nursing homes for Valentine’s Day to sing songs and give out cards, creating boxes for veterans through Packages from Home, sending candy to the troops, and making dog toys from old t-shirts, towels and blankets for animal shelters. 

“I had no idea I’d win this grant,” she said. “I feel grateful it’s offered to teachers. It’s lovely when a whole team of 120 students is affected. I can’t wait to use the resources.”

Congratulations to our educators!