By Nathalie Mairena
Un Maestra Especial, a program run by Univision 23, Papa Johns, and Nova Southeastern University, has been honoring teachers for 13 years. Each year, Univision 23 picks ten teachers , nominated by a student, parent or colleague, to honor and praise for their effect on the community.
This year, Miami Lakes Educational Center’s own Neyda Borges, an English and Journalism teacher, was selected as one of the celebrated few to receive both the $1000 cash prize and a luncheon hosted in C-Caf.
Along with the winners, who ranged with teachers from Our Lady of the Lake Catholic School to Park Springs Elementary School, other big names attended the luncheon.
Sandra Peebles, an anchor for Univision 23, hosted the event, with music provided by Ronald W. Reagan Senior High school’s own ‘Bison World Music Ensemble’. Julian Rodriguez, also from Ronald Reagan, opened up the event with “Star Spangled Banner”.
“Anytime we celebrate education, teachers, students, is amazing,” said Peebles. ” Someone told me once… ‘it doesn’t matter what you study, what’s important is if you have a great teacher'”.
North Region Administrative Director Jose Buenos gave his regards, followed by Vice President and General Manager of Univision Claudia Puig , and Superintendent of Miami-Dade County Public Schools Alberto Carvalho.
Carvalho took the time to recognize Giancarlo Tejeda, a student at MLEC who is able to afford his first year at the University of Florida thanks to the community, and Ms. Borges, who helped bring attention to his story to begin with.
As each went up to make their speeches, their message was on the importance of recognizing and honoring the work of teachers and the changes and way they shape the community.
“It is a special event,” said Puig, after telling a personal story of her young niece, whose teachers motivated her to learn to read and enjoy school. “We’re here to recognize very important individuals from our least recognized profession, neustros maestros especiales.”
Afterwards, teachers and their guests were treated to pizza and brownies provided by Papa John’s. Gift baskets were given, each made by Hialeah Gardens Middle School, and were given to each teacher.
To finish up the luncheon, winners were asked to give a speech, then handed their plaques of recognition.