When Edwin Perez got ready to go receive his award for Hialeah’s student of the year, he still packed his book bag.
He had a class that he didn’t want to miss that afternoon.
“I can still make it,” he whispered to his family as he held a plaque the Hialeah City Council had just presented him at the seventh annual Educational Merit and Inspiration Awards.
Eileen Fluney, co-chair of the Mayor’s Education Advisory Board, said public and private schools in Hialeah nominated employees, students and parents for the honors.
At a time when years of shrinking budgets have hurt morale, she said, the awards give schools some much-deserved recognition.
“This is a chance to say, ‘Hey, you’re doing a great job,’” she said.
About 60 people attended the ceremony on Tuesday at the Applebee’s on West 16th Avenue. Council members, school officials and their families were all smiles at a reception before the ceremony.
Jose Martinez, custodian of the year, said he loves working at South Hialeah Elementary. The 72-year-old said he simply enjoyed being around his peers for the celebration.
“It’s great to see everyone here so happy,’ he said.
Maite Jerez Robles said she was “flattered and humbled” when she found out she had been selected at Hialeah’s teacher of the year. The English teacher from Hialeah Senior High School grew up in Hialeah and the attended the high school where she now teaches.
She said she appreciates the city’s honor, but the most rewarding moments come when her students thank her for her work.
“Society doesn’t always give you a pat on the back,” she said. “But when you least expect it, your kids do.”
Mayor Carlos Hernandez emphasized that it takes an entire community to make schools work
“It takes not only the educators, but government, parents, everybody working together to make sure that our children have all the opportunities possible for a bright future,” he said.
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