In celebration of Teacher Appreciation Month, the Los Angeles Rams partnered with Educators for Excellence, a teacher-led non-profit organization, to recognize the dedication of LAUSD's teachers at five schools located throughout the district including Charnock Elementary, Harry Bridges Elementary, Russell Elementary, San Fernando Institute for Applied Sciences and San Pascual Elementary. Members of the Rams front office staff visited these five LAUSD schools to show appreciation for local educators with a lunchtime celebration followed by classroom visits.
"Supporting education is a priority of the Los Angeles Rams and when we first met with Educators for Excellence, we thought this would be a unique way to spread our love throughout the region and show our appreciation for some of society's most important stars – our teachers," said Molly Higgins, Rams vice president of community affairs and engagement.
During the visits, Rams cheerleaders, staff, and E4E volunteers expressed appreciation for our youth's educators and presented selected teachers with a personalized jersey, four tickets to a Rams game, and an autographed football to be displayed in their classroom.
"These teachers are developing the future," said Johnathan Franklin, Rams manager of community affairs and engagement. "They're shaping the now and we're excited to have the opportunity to be a part of what they do day in and day out. They truly have one of the hardest jobs in America and we can't thank them enough."
As an educator at Charnock Elementary, Tanya Angeletopoulos believes the Rams' Teacher Appreciation efforts impacted more than just the teachers, but enthused the students as well. While cheerleaders and staffers participated in classroom visits, student's faces lit up with excitement that lasted the duration of the day.
"For me personally, I was very flattered by all the attention," said Angeletopoulos. "I thought it was really nice to have somebody outside of our school notice us and come see what we're doing here, especially at a small community school like ours, it's really special. It also had a positive impact on our students because the Rams made them feel important. The fact that people stopped what they were doing, and organizations like the Rams came to our day and made us feel valued and important is something special. You could really see that the kids had a sense of excitement and pride from the event and it lasted the rest of the day."
At San Pascual Elementary, the Rams were welcomed with a pep rally that included a performance from the school's cheerleading team and some coordinated chants from an excited student body. Although Principal Paula Cordoba thinks we should be acknowledging our community's educators on a daily basis, she believes it's always special when communities come together to recognize their efforts.
"We really appreciate the Rams being here at San Pascual," said Cordoba. "Our teachers are fabulous and they are very appreciative of being recognized for their everyday work. Although we should be saying this every day, having the Rams here validates how much work they put in for our kids. It's so nice to work as a community to celebrate them and to come together because the Rams are our present and our future, and our students will also be a part of their future for years to come."
Touched by the Rams visit, Harry Bridges 2nd grade teacher Phylis Hoffman decided to wear her personalized jersey well beyond normal school hours. Although her students might have envied her new Rams gear, they joined team staffers and E4E volunteers in praising their teacher.
"I appreciated it so much, I can't even put into words how touched I was that the Rams organization did that for me," said Hoffman. "I can't really think of a sports organization that has stepped up and really acknowledged teachers like that. It meant the world to me and my students were so excited they screamed when the Rams walked in. I was even wearing my jersey after school and it kind of gave me some street cred with the kids!"
Russell Elementary 4th grade teacher Misti Kemmer believes events like these that remind educators that their work is beneficial to more than just their local community but the entire city at large. She thinks organizations such as the Rams and E4E joining forces to support a common cause brings solidarity to the city.
"Initiatives like this elevate schools because it shows educators that their work is valuable to the city and the community for whom they serve,' said Kemmer. "It makes educators feel appreciated for the work they do every day and it reminds everyone involved that Los Angeles is one big community of people, living and working together for the betterment of our city. Teachers, NFL staff, non-profit organizations like Educators for Excellence, we all have the same goal, to make Los Angeles the best city it can be. I believe initiatives like this keep all of us working toward that goal, together."
At the San Fernando Institute of Applied Sciences, principal Pearl Arredondo believes that the experience was validating for the school's teachers, who work tirelessly to elevate the skills of their students in preparation for their future.
"The teachers were so excited to be recognized and celebrate together," said Arredondo. "The Rams coming out made them feel like a big deal and it certainly wasn't just another lunch. It's important to show appreciation for our teachers because oftentimes it's a thankless job. They're putting in hours that go well beyond their contracts and they don't always get recognized for it so when you have non-profits and these big organizations coming out, it really validates their work and the time and effort they put into it."
"It was a pleasure to team up with the Los Angeles Rams to celebrate educators during Teacher Appreciation Month," said Ama Nyamekye, Executive Director of E4E-Los Angeles. "Teachers were glowing when they put on their personalized jerseys, and I hope this small token showed our immense appreciation for the work they do every day to coach students to success."
The Teacher Appreciation effort was part of the Rams' monthly Day of Service program. Each month, the Rams front office staff takes time out of the office to volunteer with local non-profits. Since returning home to Los Angeles, Rams staff members have provided more than 3,000 hours of community service and impacted 22 non-profits and 42 schools through the Day of Service program.
For more information about the Rams' community outreach efforts, please visit therams.com/community.