In 2021, Tonichi served as one of the faculty advisors for the graduating class. Since the students did not get to participate in any of their traditional school events throughout the year due to the pandemic, Tonichi organized a Senior Parade and Picnic for over 300 seniors to make them feel celebrated and special at the end of their high school journey.
Tonichi comes from a family of educators and upon reflecting on the positive impact teachers had on his life, he realized he wanted to have the same effect on others. "I am the person I am today because of the support I received," he said. "I want to help the young people I work with grow both as students and as people."
School: Jack G. Desmond Middle School
Grade: 7th & 8th
Years in Education: 7
Fernando became an educator because he wants to support and motivate students. Growing up in a low-income family, he had to work at a young age to help make ends meet, and this experience ultimately motivated him to go to college. Since many of his students come from similar backgrounds, he encourages them to continue their education and dream big.
Fernando started his school's Gaming Club and provides his students with gaming consoles during lunch since many of their families cannot afford them at home. He loves bringing together students with similar interests to help them feel included and find a sense of community.
Name: Alivia Derting
School: Durham Elementary School (Fremont, Alameda County)
Years in Education: 5
Alivia chose to become an educator because she wanted to have the opportunity to empower and motivate students to never give up on their dreams and to stay true to who they are along the way, just as her teachers did for her when she was growing up. Whether she is making a student from another country feel at home, helping students tackle learning challenges, or quickly responding to parents during after hours, Alivia stays attentive to her students' needs and circumstances, and goes above and beyond to help them overcome any adversity.
School: Lathrop Elementary School
Years in Education: 13
Earlier this summer, Joseph took a group of 34 students on a field trip to Washington D.C. Since many of his students have never traveled outside of their city, Joseph held fundraisers to make the trip possible for all his students. While there, he encouraged his students to be inspired by their own potential and chase their dreams. Joseph also started a flag football league for his school to help keep his students active, improve overall wellness, build teamwork skills, and foster a sense of inclusivity and belonging.
Joseph's advice for his students is, "We all have endless potential, focus on doing the best you can do!"
Program: Silicon Valley Education Foundation
Years in Education: 9 Years
Sarah is the one of the key leaders of the 49ers STEM Leadership Institute. Sarah goes above and beyond for her students, even if it means less time for her personal life. She spends hours after school helping students with projects and has even met them on weekends to provide extra support. Sarah says, "When student know you love and care for them, they can move mountains confidently." She became an educator so she could inspire her students to follow their passions, encourage them to be the change they want to see in their community, and broaden their horizons.
Program: 49ers Academy
Title: High School Program Manager
Years in Education: 6 Years
Armando oversees all programming, planning, and partnerships for his high school students at the 49ers Academy. Armando grew up in the same community as his students and witnessed firsthand the importance of receiving support from community groups while in high school himself. He became an educator so he could be the support system for a new generation of students and their families. Armando encourages his students to be their own advocate, to never be scared to seek help when needed, and to take advantage of the resources available to overcome any obstacle they face.
School: Dan Mini Elementary School
Years in Education: 18 Years
Hasani has been working for the Vallejo City Unified School District for 18 years. Hasani is known for his "positive vibes" and for always being willing to be a helping hand to students and their families. While his job is to clean, he believes he has found his purpose in interacting with students as he can make everyone smile. He tells all of the students at his school to shoot for the stars and never settle for less.
School: Phillips Magnet Elementary
Years in Education: 22 Years
Subject: All Subjects
Jennifer wants all of her students to feel included. Since many of her students have never experienced a summer camp, Jennifer has earned scholarships to cover the cost of camps for her students for five years in a row. She even got businesses to donate camping supplies so her students didn't have to purchase items they didn't already own. She encourages her students to learn about, express, and celebrate their individual cultures by creating a "Leaders Board" and corresponding art project that features various activists each month. As a result, her students have won multiple art awards and even were featured in their local newspaper.
School: Don Callejon School
Grade: Third Grade & Middle School Summer Enrichment Grades 6-8
Years in Education: 25 Years
Subject: Third Grade Multiple Subjects, Middle School Health & Wellness, Yoga, SEL, Multimedia Design
Every day, Alice emphasizes mental health in her classroom by centering her students with an attitude of gratitude and belonging.Alice is also a teacher leader in Equity & Human Rights, Social Justice, and School Culture & Climate in her district and beyond. She has dreamed of sharing her gifts of enthusiasm, synergy, friendship, integrity, and creativity as an educator, coach, and lifelong learner ever since she was young. Holding space, encouragement, and appreciation for students and their families lights Alice's fire. Her advice to her students is, "Everything is a lesson and a blessing. Give love, be love."
School: Rowell Elementary
Grade: K - 6
Years in Education: 16 Years
As a former student of Rowell herself, Mary wants her students to be excited about school both in and out of the classroom. She organizes all pep rallies, helped start the Dual Language Immersion program for Spanish-speaking students, brought back the school's Carnival after a decade-long hiatus, and started a swap closet for students in need of clothes and shoes. Mary's advice for her students is, "Don't believe what others think or say about you. Believe in yourself. Don't forget who you are or where you came from."
Name: Alyse Herrera
School: Natividad Elementary
Grade: K - 6
Years in Education: 5 Years
Alyse credits her father for her passion for education. He started in the fields and was the first in his family to go to college. He became a teacher and eventually retired as Superintendent . After seeing what education did for her father, Alyse decided to devote her career to her community by giving back to students and show them that someone believes in them in the classroom. Alyse's advice to her students is, "There will always be people who will try to stop you. Your job is to prove them wrong."
Name: Alma Naranjo
School: Caruthers Elementary School
Years in Education: 5 Years
As a Kindergarten teacher, Alma wants all of her students to have a memorable first year of school. During the pandemic, Alma visited each of her students outside of their houses to read books, color, and sing the alphabet. She became a teacher because she wants every child who enters her classroom to feel appreciated, cared for, and loved, and wants them to know that there is someone who believes in their potential at a very young age.
Dr. Veronica Ramos
School: Osborne High School
Years in Education: 26 Years
Subject: Language Arts and Math
Dr. Veronica Ramos has always had a big heart to help out the underdogs in life. As a teacher for youth in juvenile hall, Dr. Ramos makes sure her students know she will never give up on them both inside and outside of the classroom. She has gone above and beyond for her students, helping them find jobs, providing them with clothing, writing recommendation letters to judges or colleges, providing housing for students during transitional periods, and celebrating every birthday so her students know she is in their corner.
School: Sacramento Charter High School
Years in Education: 16
Subject: Performing Arts & Life Skills
Shawna believes it's important to go above and beyond every single day to give my students maximum opportunities. She wanted to be a teacher ever since she was six years old and is grateful to have been able to live out her passion, share her knowledge, and learn from her students. Shawna's advice to her students is "Learning doesn't stop when you leave the classroom. Be a lifelong learner and take advantage of every opportunity given to you."
School: East Palo Alto Charter School
Subject: Physical Education
Years in Education: 23 Years
During the pandemic, Stephen wanted to make sure that his students had all of the resources they needed--both inside and outside of the classroom. He provided pizza dinners to students whose families were facing financial uncertainty due to the pandemic and during the holidays, raised over $6,000 for a Toy Drive for kids throughout the Bay Area. To help keep his students engaged, he recruited over 40 celebrities to share messages of encouragement to his students via his school's Instagram, which included guest appearances from Ice Cube, Coach Steve Kerr, and our very own Trey Lance and Nick Bosa.
School: Calla High School, Manteca
Grades: 11 & 12
Subjects: Algebra I, Algebra II, and Robotics
Years in Education: 23
Sandy is an alternative education high school teacher who taught herself to code at age 60 so she could start a Robotics program for her students. She enters her class into local Robotics competitions against larger high schools and her students have won multiple awards, including first place.
49ers Foundation Mission Statement
The 49ers Foundation harnesses football to educate and empower Bay Area youth through collective and innovative community-focused strategies. From award-winning STEAM education and nationally recognized youth football programs, to impactful community partnerships with leading nonprofits, the 49ers Foundation is tirelessly dedicated to inspiring the confidence and collaboration youth need to tackle what is possible.
Since1991, the 49ers Foundation has invested more than $50 million back into historically underserved Bay Area communities in support of its commitment to remain faithful to the next generation
The49ers Foundation is a registered 501(c)(3) non-profit -- Tax #77-0287514
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