Academy Sports & Outdoors treated the Brownsville Independent School District’s two teachers of the year to $500 shopping sprees on Tuesday, recognizing them in a ceremony at the store and with purchases they didn’t have to pay for.
Braulio Amaro, the music teacher at Ortiz Elementary, and Lizza Hernandez, a math teacher at Brownsville Early College High School, were the winners in this year’s teacher of the year competition. After being nominated by their principals and winning the annual contest, they got the surprise news that Academy was recognizing them as well.
“In life, certain people are chosen to be teachers,” store manager Arturo Hernandez said. “They’re special people and they have that extra patience that it takes.”
Superintendent Rene Gutierrez and his administrative team were there to congratulate the pair. Amaro chose a home exercise set but will have to wait for delivery. Hernandez picked a variety of gifts including a fold-up beach chair.
Amaro said he was humbled by the experience, adding that everyone on the Ortiz educational team deserved a piece of the spotlight.
Hernandez said she felt “honored to be here,” but that her selection was reflective of the collaborative effort that goes on at BECHS and all schools.
Both teachers are BISD products. Hernandez remembered being a bilingual student and learning her ABCs as a young student.
Hernandez and Amaro were recognized at the most recent BISD Board of Trustees meeting, as were teachers of the year from each campus.
In an interview with KBSD-TV, Amaro thanked everyone at Ortiz. “I’m lucky to be working at a campus that works well together,” he said.
Hernandez said her first reaction when she found out she won was, “I don’t deserve it. … It’s a huge family. It’s every single one of us,” she said.