(Wenatchee, WA) The Wenatchee High School Mariachi Program, under the leadership of Ramon Rivera, has been selected as a KCTS 9 Golden Apple Award Winner for 2012. Mariachi is one of two programs and seven teachers to be chosen. The Golden Apple Awards for Excellence in Education recognize exceptional teaching and educational innovation in Washington State.
“I am honored by this recognition,” Mariachi Director Rivera said. “Honored to be one of two programs chosen from over 200 programs state-wide to receive the Golden Apple Award.”
Rivera said when he got the phone call from KCTS he was very emotional. “I know how much it means to our school, parents, teachers and students,” said Rivera. “It is a day I will never forget.”
This is the second consecutive year that a Wenatchee School District Program has won this prestigious award. Wenatchee High School’s Mentor Program won last year. Marcy Horne, the Mentor program coordinator, nominated Rivera and the Mariachi Program for the award.
“Under Ramon Rivera’s direction, the Mariachi Program has presented performances at a wide variety of venues throughout the state,” wrote Horne in the nomination. “Rivera’s students find doors opening and their horizons broadening as they perform in settings that range from universities to senior centers, from Seahawks games to the Capitol Rotunda. The students’ performance successes lead to improved self-esteem and an increased enthusiasm for learning. Rivera has developed a music program that welcomes students of all backgrounds and gives them tools to help them become successful members of the community.”
The nomination also said that, offered free of charge, the award-winning Mariachi Program allows students to enjoy an engaging musical activity without the financial burden many other school activities can impose. Participation provides many students with a connection to their heritage, while for others mariachi is an adventure into a culture they want to get to know.
Students, parents, teachers and community members nominated individuals and programs from public and private schools across the state. A panel of education leaders from the community and past Golden Apple Award winners evaluated the nominees and selected this year’s winners.
The Golden Apple Awards are sponsored by KCTS 9 and funded by the PEMCO Foundation and the School Employees Credit Union of Washington. Special funding for the 2012 Golden Apple Pathways to Excellence Awards comes from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.