I was pretty nervous about the dinner and accepting the award. I didn't realize before the dinner that I was one of 2 award recipients that night. As my name was called, though, suddenly my butterflies disappeared! Here is a copy of the thank you comments I made:
Thank you. This award is particularly meaningful since my mother, who is here tonight, received the same award 26 years ago. Also, Louise Gaskins, for whom the award was named, is here and I just had the pleasure of meeting her.
I would like to dedicate this amazing award to my students:
Paola, Junior, Jinwoo, Meylean, Darlin, Heather, Yuntian, Fieldy, Negar , and Kajssa. Without them, this award would not be possible. They believed in me as a teacher enough to listen to what I had to say. They inspire me with their stories, their hard work and dedication, and their love every day.
Receiving a lifetime award at 45 is a little intimidating. What comes next? Is it all downhill from here? I hope not. I hope that I can continue to address issues of civil rights by teaching my students about all perspectives, and by making ELL students more visible in my school. I hope that our legislators pay attention when we say we want less testing and more learning. I hope that teachers can take back education and feel empowered again. I hope that everyone can remember what this is about: the students.
There are many people to thank for this. My family is here with me tonight: Celso, my husband; my kids - Celsito, Clarita, and Lucia. My mom, who is my inspiration. Jean Fay - thank you for believing in me, nominating me, and for following my blog! Thanks to the MTA and my local chapter: the APEA. Thank you to my principal, my superintendent, and the district's human resources director for making the trip to join us and support me tonight as well.
There is one last thank you I need to say: thanks to my dad, who couldn't travel east tonight to be here. My dad is the most compassionate and empathetic person I know, and if I can even be a little like him, it will make me happy. Gracias, Papi.