By Samantha Solliday

    Catching two teachers in one visit, the Killeen ISD Education Foundation and human resources group surprised a pair of instructors known for breaking down language barriers.

    Headed toward the English as a Second Language (ESL) classroom at Killeen High School, the group swarmed the room as the teachers were prepping their students for a test.

    Not to reveal all the spotlight winners at the same time, the group strategically began with Sunny Luevano, not letting on that there was another award winner in the room.

    Pivoting to the very surprised Luevano, the group awarded the teacher with the Secondary Spotlight Award for the month of November.

    For Luevano, being a second-generation student in a household that spoke a language other than English, she feels a natural connection to the students that she teaches every day.

    Leuvano earned her degree in teaching and has been teaching at Killeen High for the past nine years.

    “I felt like this was a calling for me,” said Luevano. “My parents really only gave me three options when I began college. Doctor, lawyer or businesswoman, but I knew that I wanted to teach, so I kind of broke the mold in my family.”

    Cultivating a classroom of global citizens is a major goal for Luevano. Wanting to inspire them, she continually tells her students that with hard work they can overcome any obstacle and reach any achievement.

    “I always tell them that excellence isn’t about the end result, it is about the effort that you put into the task,” she stated. “So always work hard and do your best.

    “I just want to thank Assistant Principal June James for always being a great supervisor and helping us get all the resources that we need, and Ana Gonzales,” said Luevano, “she’s been the classroom aide with me for several years, and I couldn’t do it without her.”

    Kathy Torres, the other ESL teacher in the room, was celebrating Luevano, when suddenly she became the center of attention.

    “It’s impossible to celebrate one without the other,” said KHS Principal Susan Buckley. “So, congratulations to Ms. Torres as well, she works hard for our students every day. Thank you.”

    Originally from Puerto Rico, Torres understands what it takes for her students to learn English as their second language.

    “It’s hard for them to come here with no English,” she said. “They only have a couple years to learn the language, but their willingness to learn is amazing.”

    Seeing them smile when they grasp a concept is what Torres loves most about her job, and she wants her students to know that people throughout their lives will bring unique experiences and opportunities.

    “I want my students to be tolerant of other cultures,” she stated. “It’s wonderful watching them grow. I love it.”

    Thanking the staff and students, Torres was thankful to be part of the Killeen High culture.

    “I have been here for three years and the atmosphere here is amazing,” she stated. “You always feel supported and appreciated for the work that you do. Thank you to the students, Dr. Buckley and Mrs. James, our number one supporters.”

    December 5, 2017

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