Wishes Come True for Alumni via Fiesta Bowl Charities

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By Mike Kilen
CUU Information Office

Group teacher and GCU alumnus Kivez Sandoval got his wish, money to buy instruments for his band.

Kevin Sandoval believes that the power of a band is more than a song.

So the orchestra teacher for the fifth to eighth graders at Maurice C. Cash Elementary School in Phoenix was confused when the school year began.

“I had to refuse many students to join the group due to the limited number of instruments,” he said. “And most of the instruments our students play are not in the best condition. “

His group, he says, teaches students that “they can choose their life path and are not limited by where they come from.”

Then, just like the legendary children of River City whose instruments in “The Music Man” breathe new life into a city, Sandoval found his own Hollywood ending.

The Grand Canyon University alumnus was granted one of the $ 2,500 wishes to equip his band with additional instruments by the Desert Financial Fiesta Bowl Charities Wishes for Teachers program last week. He joined 38 GCU alumni among the 400 million dollar recipients and met with seven of them in a Zoom call to express their appreciation to the leaders of the GCU College of Education.

Sandoval said the award helps raise awareness of the value of the arts.

“A well-rounded music program is not limited by its location, but rather by the hard work its members are willing to do,” he said. “Students CHOOSE to work hard, students CHOOSE to improve the group program, students CHOOSE to be part of something that will impact other generations.

“By teaching music to our students, not only do we help develop lasting life skills, but we also help them learn that they have the ability to choose what they want to do and how they want to be an active member. of the society.”

From left to right, leaders of the College of Education – Associate Dean Dr Emily Pottinger, Dean Meredith Critchfield and Associate Dean Lindy Guadiano – shared the excitement with the successful GCU alumni last week.

Fiesta Bowl Charities started the program six years ago after seeing that many teachers were spending their own money to improve the classroom experience. So he invited the teachers to make a wish, and with the help of Desert Financial, the wish would be granted.

So far, $ 3.7 million has been awarded to Arizona teachers in 400 schools, reaching more than 300,000 students, bowl officials said.

GCU supports the program – and for good reason.

“All professions exist because of teachers,” said COE dean Dr Meredith Critchfield. “Teaching is the only profession that creates all other professions. “

Former GCU student Jodi Biasiucci shared how the money will support the purchase of art equipment for its elementary students in Lake Havasu City, and Angela Reyes said classroom technology will be added to its Kindergarten room in Cottonwood.

“The great gratitude that could be felt through the screen from these GCU teachers and alumni was palpable,” said the Associate Dean of the COE. Dr Emily Pottinger noted. “That’s why we do what we do. Being able to make those wishes come true and make a difference in the lives and classes of these teachers was truly the greatest gift of all.

Here’s what the GCU alumni who joined the Zoom announcement said they could do with the money:

Jodi Biasiucci: art, Havasupai Elementary School, Lake Havasu City, 5 years old. Wish: Purchase art materials and supplies for the classroom.

Robert Destefano: math, American Leadership Academy, Queen Creek, 8 years old. Wish: To provide up-to-date math equipment for the classroom.

Angela ReyesKindergarten, Cottonwood Elementary School, Cottonwood, 6 years old. Wish: to buy technology for more practical learning.

Terrence Valerani-Knoblich: history, Sierra 2-8 School, Tucson, 14 years old. Wish: Provide a classroom makeover with updated furniture.

Nathan Johnson: physical education, Westwood Elementary, Phoenix, 18 years old. Wish: Purchase new equipment for the PE class.

Michelle paschke: third year, Scales Technology Academy, Tempe, 9 years old. Wish: Provide new seating options for students to promote a better learning environment.

Kristi Schabatka: special education, Show Low Junior High, Show Low, 20 years old. Wish: Provide new seating options for students to promote a better learning environment.

Kivez Sandoval: fifth-eighth grade band, Maurice C. Cash Elementary School, Phoenix, 2 years old. Wish: Buy additional instruments for the school orchestra.

Grand Canyon University Senior Writer Mike Kilen can be reached at [email protected] or at 602-639-6764.

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