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Fifth-Annual Inspire Awards 2015 recipients

Media Advisory 

What:         Fifth-Annual Inspire Awards 2015 recipients

Who:          Outstanding SAISD educators and alumni including former Chief Justice Alma L.
                  López-Cavazos, philanthropists the (Bill) Miller family and broadcast journalist
                  John Quiñones

When:       Sept. 23 (Wednesday), 6 – 9 p.m.

Where:      Pearl Stable, 312 Pearl Pkwy San Antonio, TX 78215

The District’s past and present shining stars will be honored for making a significant difference in their fields and for their ability to inspire others. Proceeds from the price of admission will go to teaching grants in SAISD and Foundation initiatives.

A Reception and Silent Auction will begin at 6 p.m. and the awards presentation will start at 7:40 p.m.

KSAT TV’s Ursula Pari (news anchor) and Greg Simmons (sports anchor) will co-emcee the Inspire Awards event.

The honorees are:

Leadership Award

Alma L. López-Cavazos (alumna of Burbank HS). López-Cavazos graduated from St. Mary’s University Law School. She worked as an attorney for 25 years specializing in immigration and family law. In October 1993, López-Cavazos became the first Hispanic woman to be appointed to the Fourth Court of Appeals and only the second Hispanic woman to serve on an appellate court in the United States. In 2002, she became the first Hispanic woman in the nation to serve as Chief Justice until her retirement in 2008. She is an active volunteer, serving on the boards of state and national organizations that encourage women to become attorneys and fight domestic abuse.

Excellence Award

Millers of the Bill Miller Bar-B-Q Family (alumni of Highlands HS). The first Bill Miller Bar-B-Q opened in 1953 on what is now Bill Miller Lane near Highlands HS. The Miller chain now has 72 restaurants in Texas. The Miller family has been extremely generous in helping the San Antonio community. The Millers donated $1 million for the purchase of Fiesta Plaza for UTSA and gave $300,000 to the City of San Antonio for the placement of Mama Patrols at school crossing areas. Their dedication to education can also be seen in their support of higher education scholarships for their employees.

Service Award

John Quiñones (alumnus of Brackenridge HS). Quiñones did not learn English until he started school at age 6, one of many challenges that became an asset in his career. He went on to graduate from St. Mary’s University with a B.A. in speech communications and received a master’s degree from the Columbia School of Journalism. He joined ABC News in June 1982 as a correspondent. While covering the Chilean miners’ disaster in 2010, Quiñones was the first journalist out of thousands to get an exclusive interview with the first survivor. He is the host of the nationally syndicated “What Would You Do?” program on ABC.  Quiñones is a seven-time Emmy award winner.

Service Award

Valero Energy Foundation (friend of SAISD). The Valero Energy Foundation is dedicated to improving the lives of those who live in or near the communities where Valero has major operations. Approximately 100 percent of Valero employees give back to their community, supporting issues from hunger to education. Valero employees volunteer 136,624 total hours to organizations and pledged $11.3 million in 2014 to the United Way. Valero has also awarded over $4.5 million to children of Valero Energy Employees. The Valero Energy Foundation pledges $15 to $20 million annually to non-profit organizations.

INNOVATION (Educator Winners)

Jason Jones (music teacher at Highland Hills ES). – Jones has been an educator in SAISD for three years. He graduated from Emory & Henry College with a B.A. in Vocal Music Education and French Education and a M.A. in Education. Jones is a Teach For America member. Jones co-teaches the only elementary strings music program in SAISD (in partnership with a strings specialist).

Jennifer DeWaelsche (librarian at Rogers MS). DeWaelsche, a ranked national Scrabble player herself, started a lunch time Scrabble Club at her middle school and has helped a number of teachers in SAISD start Scrabble programs in their schools.  Three of her students placed in the Texas State Scrabble Tournament in spring 2015.

About SAISD Foundation

The SAISD Foundation is a 501(c)(3) public charity that exists solely to support the District’s schools, programs and teachers. Since its inception in 2007, the foundation has awarded over $2 million in teaching grants, strategic initiatives and scholarships.