Western Nebraska Observer - Observations all along the line - Kimball & the Southern Panhandle First

Sulu named state's top Spanish teacher


Tonia Copeland

Kimball High School Spanish teacher Pat Sulu was named the state's top Spanish teacher at a conference last weekend.

Kimball High School can boast another award-winning educator in Spanish teacher Patricia Sulú.

Sulú was named the "Spanish Teacher of the Year" by the Nebraska Association of Teachers of Spanish and Portuguese during the Nebraska State World Language Conference in Omaha last Saturday.

Letters of recommendation were sent to the conference on Sulú's behalf by co-educator Patricia Randolph, Kimball High School principal Eugene Hanks and a former student Jacob Zitterkopf.

"I am grateful for her (Randolph's) confidence in me - it takes our entire community to positively affect our students," Sulú said.

Each letter extolls Sulú's passion for teaching language and culture, compassion to those around her, and drive to make a lasting and positive difference in for her students.

"It is my sincerest privilege to recommend to you Mrs. Patricia Sulú for this most prestigious award, one of the most influential people that has ever come into my life," Zitterkopf wrote. "Her dedication to teaching world languages and cultures motivated and inspired me to reach a dream which has resulted in me speaking Spanish on a daily basis and traveling the world, assisting underprivileged and underserved communities with dental care."

Sulú credits many other for her success, including leaders of the Hispanic communities, the Nebraska Education Department of World Language, and other team members.

"I appreciate the educational team we form. I have been blessed with great Spanish teaching partners: Pat Randolph, Pedro Sulú and Cassandra Benitez. We bounced ideas off each other and discussed new ways of approaching vocabulary, grammar and culture," Sulú said. "I appreciate the leaders of our Hispanic communities who have advised me and helped me share culture with our students to prepare them to become productive global citizens. We are lucky to have such amazing people."

This is not the first award for Sulú, who was named the 2014 grand marshal for the Mexican Independence Day Parade in Scottsbluff. She was also named the 2014 Teacher of the Year by the Kimball-Banner County Chamber of Commerce.

These distinctions are based on Sulú's education style, the curriculum she developed, her energy in the classroom as well as the Spanish Club she established, which is basically a service organization, according to Hanks.

"Mrs. Sulu is a very positive person and does a tremendous job of teaching the culture and the language to her students," Hanks said. "She has developed her own curriculum which is outstanding and helps her connect with students of all ability levels. She has also shown creativity and imagination with regard to classroom activities."

Spanish students in any year of Sulú's class are automatically part of the Spanish Club, along with any other interested students. Members of the club are taught the importance of volunteering in the community through projects such as the beautification of the community with murals and clean-ups, helping with the recycling center, and helping the elderly, Hanks added.

"I am humbled to be part of the teaching profession and to contribute with my peers to help our young people become well prepared, competent and well-rounded global citizens," Sulú said.

"Pat is the epitome of a lifelong learner. A glance at her transcript indicates her unflagging efforts to upgrade her personal teaching background. She is always watching for new techniques and strategies to reach her students," Randolph said. "However, beyond teaching techniques and innovative materials, Pat never loses sight of the truth, that students don't care what she knows until they know she cares."


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