826 Valencia is happy to announce that Virginia Reyes of Mission High School is our April Teacher of the Month! Ms. Reyes teaches Language Arts and English Language Learners at Mission. When we received letters of support and praise from current students, past students, and colleagues of Ms. Reyes, we knew that she had made a huge impact on her school and her community.
Ms. Reyes has been a teacher at Mission for over 14 years, and she has made leaps and bounds in developing the curriculum for English Language Learners at the school. Colleague Nancy Rodriguez, who is a Social Studies teacher at Mission, wrote, “Through her project-based learning, she has made a very strong and dynamic program. Additionally, through her curriculum and instruction, she honors our students’ cultures and differences.” In addition to giving students a rigorous academic environment, Ms. Reyes has dedicated huge amounts of time and energy to supporting students outside of the classroom. She sponsors the Multicultural Club, which brings together students of many origins for events such as school-wide festivals of carnivals. Under Ms. Reyes’s guidance, this club also has been successful in fundraising for scholarship money. This year, they were able to raise enough for three $1,000 scholarships that Mission graduates will use toward college.
Edher Zamudio had Ms. Reyes as a teacher shortly after moving to San Francisco, when speaking and writing in English was a challenge for this student. Edher wrote of Ms. Reyes’s tireless encouragement and strict but caring direction and said, “She was always behind us, always pushing us, always remind us to apply for financial aid for college.” Andrea Torres, a graduate of Mission High, echoed this sentiment about Ms. Reyes: “As a 12th grade advisor, she completely believes that her immigrant students are able to go to college. She guides them through the process of applications, and encourages the to apply for scholarships, but more importantly, she is realistic with them as a friend.” Andrea and other former students spoke of how they wanted to visit Ms. Reyes at Mission after graduation to keep her updated on their new goals and experiences. Karina Henriquez, another colleague of Ms. Reyes at Mission, wrote that “when students who have graduated come back to visit, they go directly to her classroom to express their gratitude for all the academic and life stills she taught them.”
Ms. Reyes pours all of her energy into encouraging her students to pursue great things after high school. It is clear that everyone who knows her would agree with Andrea Torres when she wrote, “Ms. Reyes gives more than her hundred percent, she gives the teacher, the mom and the friend inside her.” Thank you, Ms. Reyes, for always giving more than one hundred percent. We’re so fortunate to have teachers like you in our community.