Local teachers compete for Texas Teacher of the Year

SAN BENITO — Two local teachers will compete for Texas Teacher of the Year titles.

Last month, Dr. Raul Garza Jr. Elementary teacher Melissa De Leon and Berta Cabaza Middle School teacher Cynthia Manrrique were named teachers of the year in San Benito, along with several of their peers.

Each year, one teacher from the elementary level and one from the secondary level are chosen to compete among hundreds around the state.

Judging will take place at the end of summer and 40 semifinalists will be chosen.

The final two winners will be named in the fall at an award ceremony in Austin.

It is because of their dedication to the classroom, teaching and students that these two teachers were chosen.

In May, both teachers talked about their journey as educators. They also talked about why they became teachers.

Manrrique is committed to her students and their needs.

Her third-grade teacher Ms. Villarreal played an important role in her life and inspired her to become an educator.

“She was everything that my second-grade teacher wasn’t,” she said. “She was caring and loving. She took the time to teach me. The patience that she had. I thought, I want to be like her someday.”

Villarreal would sit one-on-one with Manrrique daily.

She remembers thinking, “If this is the way a teacher should be, then this is what I want to be,” Manrrique said.

As a single mother, Manrrique went to school four times a week and worked as a secretary for eight years.

For the rest of this story and many other EXTRAS, go to our premium site, www.MyValleyStar.com.

Subscribe to it for only $6.99 per month or purchase a print subscription and receive the online version free, which includes an electronic version of the full newspaper and extra photo galleries, links and other information you can’t find anywhere else.