4-year-old Rilyn Gonzalez of Van Raub Elementary School overcomes physical challenges with a smile.
She was born missing muscles in her upper body. The disability affects her whole body, and she is unable to use her arms or hands. Along with her teaching assistant and biggest cheerleader, Heidi, Rilyn has made huge progress toward learning how to use her feet as tools. She also took her first step this year!
Boerne ISD schools are dedicated to helping all students with disabilities to overcome obstacles with the goal of self-sufficiency. Rilyn is a shining example of perseverance and how much you can overcome with a positive attitude.
Teacher Lisa Barry of Woodridge Elementary School spearheaded a classroom project to collect 6 million pennies to represent the number of lives lost during the Holocaust. Her students became involved in this project which then turned into a fundraiser for schools across Alamo Heights ISD. So far, they have collected over 100,000 pennies, and they are determined to keep it up! Money from the project is donated to local charities and the San Antonio Holocaust Memorial. Ms. Barry has a goal to teach this generation of students to think about how each of them can make a difference. The project reminds the students of the importance of tolerance and the unfortunate outcome of bullying on a large scale. These Alamo Heights kids are becoming young humanitarians one penny at a time.
David Padilla is a p1opular teacher at one of South San ISD’s four specialty academies. Students at the STEM Academy at Dwight Middle School praise Mr. Padilla for his hands-on and engaging lessons and project-based assignments. Mr. Padilla encourages girls to get excited about STEM, and he communicates to all of his students that failure is part of learning.
In Southside ISD, student Robert Posada finally found a safe place to belong. Robert moved to Southside to escape dangerous surroundings in California. He is now flourishing as a successful senior, inspirational role model, skilled welder, and dedicated volunteer at Southside High School. He considers some of his Southside teachers to be family, like Priscilla Mota. Through friendship and guidance from SHS teachers, Robert will be the first in his family to graduate from high school, and he will begin college in the fall! This Southside Cardinal credits his school and it’s Cardinal traits, “Be Safe, Be Respectful, Be Responsible” for saving his life and helping him find his place and his calling.