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The Asian American Parent Alliance of San Diego honored several teachers at a recent award ceremony. Courtesy photo.
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Canyon Crest Academy teachers honored for excellence

REGION — The Asian American Parent Alliance of San Diego honored 12 Canyon Crest Academy teachers at its inaugural Education Excellence Award ceremony on Dec. 15.

Canyon Crest Academy (CCA) is located in the Pacific Highlands Ranch community of San Diego and is one of five high schools in the San Dieguito Union High School District. The ceremony took place at Pacific Social restaurant in The Village at Pacific Highlands Ranch.

The Alliance chose the 12 out of 60 teacher nominations from more than 250 students at CCA. Those 12 include social science teachers Sarah Aguilar, Amanda Melkonian and Stuart Pollock; world language teachers Katelin Butcher and Chungching Kao; English teacher Sharon Dasho; math teachers Chiara Luna, Jinsig Min and Brian Shay; and science teachers Kristin Sevilla, Kaveh Shakeri and Alex Siegel.

Jeff Charles, vice-chair of the SDUHSD Personnel Commission, and biotech executive William Sandborn presented the honorees with their awards on behalf of the Alliance. Honorees also received touching, written accolades from their students – a highlight of the night for the teachers.

The Education Excellence Award recognizes the achievements of high-performing teachers, encouraging all teachers and students to devote their own best efforts toward pursuing the highest caliber educational experience. The Alliance advocates in favor of equal opportunities for students of all backgrounds to pursue a merit-based education, and in particular to encourage increased participation by the Asian-American community in schools.

“Raising children and preparing them for adulthood is a demanding task. Getting a good education is a big part of that process, and it is especially helpful when excellent teachers inspire our students to achieve their best,” said Alliance Chair Hong Wu. “The Education Excellence Award is meant to acknowledge the invaluable contributions that good teachers make to so many lives.”

Alliance member Allison Luo, a physician and executive in the biopharmaceutical industry, expressed similar sentiments.

“My support for this award was a result of personal experience with our daughter. She was a bit lost about what to do with her life – until she took Mr. Pollard’s business class,” Luo said. “He had such a profound impact on her that she is now a freshman at UCSB, majoring in economics and accounting. Inspirational high school teachers are part of the life blood of our society.”

The award was particularly special for honorees Shakeri and Siegel.

As his former teacher, Shakeri made a difference in the life of young Siegel, who graduated from Canyon Crest Academy in 2012. Eight years later, Siegel returned to CCA as a science teacher, like Shakeri, and varsity lacrosse coach.

The Alliance intends to identify future honorees at other schools in the district.

The Asian American Parent Alliance of San Diego is a nonprofit organization. For more information about the Alliance, contact [email protected] or call 319-540-7367.

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