In celebration of an inspiring LAUSD educator and a high-performing student, the Los Angeles Rams & CBS-2/KCAL-9 visited Vista Middle School in Panorama City on Thursday, May 2nd to recognize two exceptional individuals for their achievements in and out of the classroom.
As the famous writer William Arthur Ward once said, "The mediocre teacher tells. The good teacher explains. The superior teacher demonstrates. The great teacher inspires."
While the school's jazz ensemble opened a celebratory assembly, their proud mentor and Teacher of the Month Eric Cloud cheered them on before receiving a recognition in front of Vista Middle School's faculty and student body. A music teacher for LAUSD for the past 27 years, Cloud combines his love for music and his commitment to students to create an engaging and supportive classroom environment.
"I really enjoy taking things apart and being able to show kids how to do things. That's a big part of what teaching is," said Cloud. "Teaching and being with kids is my oxygen. I can't imagine doing anything else. I love challenging myself and I love challenging my kids."
He's developed a music program that features instructional courses on music theory and instruments while continuing to serve on the School Leadership Council, which he has done for the past four years. Most notably, he's enhanced the school's music program with a drumline and created Vista's Spring Fling which provides students a chance to show off their talents on an outdoor stage for parents and community members to enjoy.
Furthermore, 8th grader and Student of the Month Emerson Ortiz immigrated from Honduras in 2016 to reunite with his mother after being apart for a handful of years. In just three years, he reclassified to English proficiency, maintained a 4.0 GPA, and received the Principal's Gold Medal Award multiple times. He exudes a competitive spirit that drives him to excel and is currently enrolled in all honors courses while earning college credits through LA City College.
"When I came here, the English language was really hard for me to learn. But now I have straight A's and my GPA hasn't dropped," said Ortiz. "For my mom, my dad and my sister, I always want to give them the best and return what they have given me."
Known to be kind & humble amongst his peers, Ortiz is always pushing himself and enjoys setting new goals. He participates in many extracurricular activities such as student service, after-school programs and club sports. After his high school graduation in four years, Ortiz hopes to fulfill his grandfather's goal for him, to attend Stanford University and become a surgeon.
To conclude the ceremony, the Rams presented both Cloud and Ortiz with their own personalized jerseys along with four tickets to the Rams first home game of the 2019 season against the New Orleans Saints as part of LAUSD's Student & Teacher of the Month program.