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Posted February 18, 2014

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Honored Teacher Counts Students as His Blessings

Lt. Col. Gary R. Gomez, JROTC teacher at Albuquerque High, is the Pepsi/APS Education Foundation Teacher of the Month.

Lt. Col. Gary R. Gomez has pushed his JROTC cadets at Albuquerque High School to rise above. His 15-year dedication to a program that develops leadership, quality citizenship, and character in students makes him an ideal choice for the Pepsi/APS Education Foundation Teacher of the Month..

Gomez says it's the good surprises that get him through the day. “Knowing that a student will surprise me with something good, like an idea I never thought of, constantly challenges me to get better as a teacher.” His goal is to do the same for his students.

Gomez inspires his students to do their best and they respond with more effort and grit. The routine for Gomez and his students is one of reciprocal learning. His dedication to his students and the JROTC program is visible in their awards and recognitions. In turn the students are inspired to follow Gomez’ lead. “I am extremely blessed to have the students that I do," he says.

Over the years, Gomez’s teams have been competitive in district and state competitions. In October, under his direction, the Albuquerque High JROTC drill team received the Honor Unit, which places them in the top 10 percent of JROTC drill teams nationwide. The cadets also have the distinction of being the only New Mexico teams selected to compete at the National Drill Meet in Daytona Beach, Fla., in May.

The teams are working to raise money to compete at the national level. Due to federal budget cuts, the teams will be unable to get the usual support from the U.S. Army. Gomez and his students have been struggling to raise money to get to Florida, but they really want to go to represent their school district as well as the state of New Mexico.

Fundraising efforts are outside his job parameters but Gomez is determined. “These young men and women have worked extremely hard for this”, he says, “and it would be a shame for them to miss this opportunity.”

Anyone interested in helping with fundraising efforts can contact Gomez at gomez_g@aps.edu.

Fifteen years of service to the same program yields opportunities worth battling for.

Pepsi, in partnership with the APS Education Foundation, is recognizing APS teachers for their outstanding contribution to the classroom, school and community.  The Foundation randomly selects one APS school each month, and that school’s principal or staff chooses a teacher to be honored. The teacher receives a $100 check from Pepsi and acknowledgement on the APS website, Facebook page and electronic billboards at Cibola, Del Norte and Eldorado high schools and Wilson Stadium.

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