Albuquerque High School teacher honored with prestigious award

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ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — Loretta Vasquez was honored this year with the "Educator of the Year" award by the Hispano Chamber of Commerce.

"It kind of took me a while to realize, ‘Is this for real?’," Vasquez expressed. "It was an amazing moment for me."

Vasquez is entering her 31st year of teaching but her investment in the school predates her time as a teacher. She coached the dance team for 22 years and dreamed of being a teacher when she played on APS playgrounds.

"I remember playing school and I was always a teacher," Vasquez recalled. "I think the most amazing part, for me wanting to be a teacher, was the amazing teachers that I had growing up."

Although Vasquez won the award, there are others who she wants to share the award with.

"I want to share it mostly with my Albuquerque High community and with my students," Vasquez said. "Especially those who have taught me so much on how to be a teacher."

As a special education teacher, Vasquez has faced her own set of challenges. However, this helped her prepare for a set of unexpected changes over the last year.

"I saw that my kids weren’t logging in the class or weren’t attending regularly," Vasquez said. "Or a lot of them had to get jobs to support their family."

Vasquez has continued on through the challenges that have inspired her words of wisdom after 30 years.

"My message to other teachers would be, hang in there. I know the struggle is real," Vasquez stated. "And to the kids, just don’t ever, ever, ever give up."