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2022 SPARK Award Spotlight: Leticia Sifuentes

From honorable mention to finalist! Fifth grade science teacher, Leticia Sifuentes, says she is thrilled to be one of six nominees for alliantgroup’s 2022 SPARK Award. Although this is her first year teaching at Bonner Elementary School, Sifuentes is a veteran of the classroom with 24 years of experience. She credits her own fifth grade teacher for inspiring her to become one.

SPARK Award Spotlight: Melanie Jenkins

From part-time teaching to finance, Melanie Jenkins had many professional experiences prior to becoming a full-time ESL teacher. Jenkins has been a fifth grade ESL teacher at Katherine Smith Elementary School for three years but tells us she first got started in substitute teaching.

2022 SPARK Award Spotlight: Lynell Dillard

From Corporate America to the classroom—Lynell Dillard spent three years as an accountant before realizing teaching was her passion. While still working as an accountant, she taught a weekly finance class where her students became her inspiration to pursue a full-time career in the classroom.

2022 SPARK Award Spotlight: Ruth Giles

From foster care to the classroom, 5th grade science teacher Ruth Giles says her childhood shaped her into the teacher she is today. She tells us she relates more easily to her students at Cornelius Elementary School because of the challenges she faced but also the support she got along the way.

STEM Scholarship Spotlight: Benjamin Lake

For Benjamin, the STEM world has always been exciting! From flipping light switches at two years old to building drones at fourteen, Ben has always been fascinated by the way the world works. Some of Benjamin’s special childhood memories that triggered his passion for STEM were when he met his idol James Spann, a phenomenal meteorologist from Alabama and the day he flew a drone for the first time.

STEM Scholarship Spotlight: Spirit Martin

Spirit knew that she wanted to pursue a career STEM after she visited an orphanage in Grand Goave, Haiti. Seeing how grateful the people were after they received their medication, made her realize that she needed to do something to help improve the quality of life of others in need.