Chandler teachers get Fiesta Bowl cash for wishes - SanTan Sun News SanTan Sun News

Chandler teachers get Fiesta Bowl cash for wishes

November 19th, 2020 SanTan Sun News
Chandler teachers get Fiesta Bowl cash for wishes


Five teachers in Chandler public and charter schools have something special to be grateful for this season thanks to Fiesta Bowl Charities, the charitable arm of the organization that handles the celebrated end-of-the-season football game.

They are among 200 teachers statewide who each will receive $2,500 through the organization’s Wishes for Teachers program, which distributes $500,000 through Desert Financial Credit Union to teachers who apply for consideration.

The 200 teachers represent 161 schools and 70,000 students in 67 school districts.

“Desert Financial Fiesta Bowl Charities Wishes for Teachers has been built into the preeminent program for teacher support,” said Fiesta Bowl board Chairman Patrick Barkley. “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 K-12 public and charter school teachers are invited to apply for a grant by detailing their school or classroom need. Grantees’ names are drawn randomly.

Over the five years of the program, Fiesta Bowl Wishes for Teachers has awarded $3.7 million to more than 840 Arizona teachers, “impacting over 225,000 children across the state,” organizers said.

“What’s more fun than granting wishes? Wishes for Teachers is even more meaningful this year as teachers have adapted to extraordinary circumstances,” said Jeff Meshey of Chandler, president and CEO at Desert Financial.  “Desert Financial has made it a practice to support education to honor the legacy of our 15 founders, all teachers.”

Each of the unique wishes will benefit teachers and schools in technology, reading, music, fitness and other needs.

“The need this year was more in line with the circumstances related to COVID-19, with more technology needs, plexiglass dividers and flexible seating equipment than ever before,” organizers said in a release.

“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.

Among the lucky Chandler recipients is Tarwater Elementary teacher Jamie Droeg, who wanted provide Chromebooks and additional technology equipment for her class.

Conley Elementary’s Ayana Gilchrist will use the money for individual STEM materials for each student.

Hartford Sylvia Encinas Elementary School teacher Soledad Jackson plans to buy iPads for the entire class.

Sirrine Elementary School teacher Elizabeth Peco hopes to buy new books for her classroom while Kyrene de las Brisas Stacy Thomas aims to spend it on alternative seating and sensory resources for the classroom.

Fewer Chandler teachers were lucky to have their names drawn than their counterparts in Mesa and Gilbert, where more than a dozen in each community had their names pulled for the fulfillment of their wishes.