Janet Berchick, a health, physical education and personal finance teacher at Payson High School, is the recipient of $2,500 from the Desert Financial Fiesta Bowl Wishes for Teachers program.

Her wish is to provide archery equipment for the school.

Berchick said the $2,500 was turned into $5,000 worth of equipment due to Giving Tuesday contributions on Donor’s Choose.

Over the program’s five years, $3.7 million has been granted to nearly 850 Arizona K-12 teachers to invest into their classrooms.

In what has become an annual tradition to honor, support and celebrate Arizona’s teachers, the Fiesta Bowl Organization is proud to award $500,000 to teachers through the Desert Financial Fiesta Bowl Charities Wishes for Teachers program.

As part of its mission to benefit Arizonans through youth, sports and education, the Fiesta Bowl granted 200 K-12 public and charter school teachers a $2,500 wish to be implemented in their classrooms.

The 200 teachers represented 161 schools across the state, teaching more than 70,000 students, from 177 schools, 67 school districts and 45 cities.

“Desert Financial Fiesta Bowl Charities Wishes for Teachers has been built into the preeminent program for teacher support,” said Patrick Barkley, chair of the Fiesta Bowl Board of Directors.

“My mom was a teacher and we all know teachers who inspire us with selfless work, shaping today’s students into tomorrow’s leaders.”

Each fall, Arizona’s K-12 public or charter school teachers are invited to fill out an online application detailing their school or classroom need and, after meeting the criteria, wishes are selected by random drawing for teachers to receive a grant.

Over the five years of the program, Fiesta Bowl Wishes for Teachers granted $3.7 million to Arizona teachers, to nearly 850 teachers, impacting over 225,000 children across the state.

Each of the 200 teacher wishes will benefit teachers and schools in technology, reading, music, fitness and more. The need this year was more in line with the circumstances related to COVID-19, with more technology needs, Plexiglas dividers and flexible seating equipment than ever before.

“It’s been quite a year for teachers. We are honored to support them as they adjust to today’s circumstances yet still work tirelessly and selflessly every day to help our children on their life journey,” said Mike Nealy, Fiesta Bowl executive director.

Contact the reporter at tmcquerrey@payson.com

Contact the reporter at tmcquerrey@payson.com

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