The Fiesta Bowl mascot calling and surprising teachers with wishes.

Although Christmas is a month away, for 400 teachers across Arizona — including four in Gila County — it came early. In early November, the Fiesta Bowl Organization awarded $1 million to teachers through the Desert Financial Fiesta Bowl Charities Wishes for Teachers program.

Through a three-day Virtual Draft Day presented by Salt River Project (SRP), 400 teachers from K-12 schools were each given $2,500 to grant a wish in their classrooms. The winners were chosen based on a program in the fall wherein any Arizona K-12 teacher could fill out an online application detailing a school or classroom need. The wishes were then verified and selected by random drawing for teachers to receive a grant.

Gila County teacher recipients:

Kristine Seeley, a first grade teacher at Payson Elementary School in Payson, will provide new seating options for students to promote a better learning environment.

Alia Rogers, a first grade teacher at Copper Rim Elementary School in Globe, will provide new seating options for students.

Daniel Hill, an English, Japanese and culinary arts teacher at Miami Junior-Senior High School in Miami, will provide a cooking classroom makeover for a safe culinary class experience.

Amanda Shaffer, a second grade teacher at Dr. Charles A. Bejarano Elementary School in Miami, will update the bookshelves and provide new seating options for the class.

“They may not wear capes, but teachers are real-life superheroes. They give tirelessly to their students and Wishes for Teachers is our opportunity to reward them for their efforts,” said Jeff Meshey, president and CEO at Desert Financial.

“Teachers are our unsung heroes, who give so much to our students in helping them become tomorrow’s leaders. Giving them a spotlight for their selfless work and support them with extra resources is an important part of the Fiesta Bowl’s commitment to our community,” said Mike Nealy, Fiesta Bowl executive director. “Thanks to our partners Desert Financial and SRP, Wishes for Teachers helps reward Arizona’s teachers and give them a step forward in ways they may have only wished.”

For more information, or for a full list of granted wishes, visit www.fiestabowl.org.

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