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Laredo Chamber Announces School Bell Awards Competition and “Spirit of Laredo” Scholarship Competition

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Texas Border Business

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Mr. Michael Gonzalez, Chairman of the Laredo Chamber of Commerce Education Committee, officially launched the 2021 School Bell Awards Competition at a press conference held in the Laredo Chamber of Commerce Board Room earlier today. In making the announcement, Mr. Gonzalez stated that the Chamber annually takes time to honor educators as part of Teacher Appreciation Week.  A special recognition – the School Bell Award – is presented to those educators that are selected by their peers for their performance in and out of the classroom, he said.  The event is annually cosponsored by the TAMIU College of Education, Family Chevrolet and Killam Development, LTD.

Outstanding teachers, from the elementary, middle and high school levels, as well as higher education, will receive the Chamber’s School Bell Award.  Twelve awards will be presented as follows:

  • Elementary School    1 Teacher LISD & 1 Teacher UISD
  • Middle School   1 Teacher LISD & 1 Teacher UISD
  • High School      1 Teacher LISD & 1 Teacher UISD
  • Private Schools – Elementary     1 Teacher
  • Private Schools – Secondary       1 Teacher
  • Charter Schools – Elementary     1 Teacher
  • Charter Schools – Secondary      1 Teacher
  • Laredo Comm. College / Technical Schools         1 Instructor/Professor
  • Texas A&M International University       1 Professor

Candidates from any field/discipline may apply/be nominated.  To qualify for the School Bell Award competition, candidates must have a minimum 5-years experience, and carry the support of the school principal/administrator (signature on application form).  Deadline for submitting applications is Monday, April 12, 2021, 5:30 pm.  General information on competition rules will be mailed to the principals at local private and public schools, or can be obtained at the Laredo Chamber of Commerce. 

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All applications will be reviewed by the Laredo Chamber Education Committee which will select winners of the 2021 competition.  Winners will then be formally announced and presented with the coveted School Bell Award at a ceremony to be announced at a later date. For information on how to obtain an application contact the Laredo Chamber of Commerce at (956)722-9895 or simply download from the Laredo Chamber web site www.laredochamber.com (under Chamber Events). 

The Laredo Chamber of Commerce Education Committee is made up volunteers who give of their time and resources during the year in support of educational initiatives for the local community. The members are representative of both the educational field and the business and public sectors.  They include:

  • Michael Gonzalez, (Chair), Senior Director of Strategic & External Initiatives, Laredo College
  • Adriana Perez, Laredo Job Corps
  • Carmen Rendon, UISD
  • Cynthia Conchas, Retired Educator
  • Elenisa Vasquez, , LISD
  • Hector Equihua, IBC
  • Dr. James O’Meara, TAMIU
  • Mike Pescador, City of Laredo
  • Mimi Valdez, LISD
  • Miriam Castillo, Laredo Chamber
  • Nicole Romanos, Harmony Public Schools          
  • Nydia Garcia, Laredo College
  • Veronica Castillon, LISD

Scholarships Awarded By Education Committee will be Matched By Killam Development, Ltd

The Education Committee of the Laredo Chamber of Commerce will be handing out scholarships to three enterprising high schoolers once again this year.  Michael Gonzalez, chairman of the committee, announced today that the group is once again launching the Spirit of Laredo video competition where students from local high schools, public and private, can vie for the prize using their creative communication skills. Winners of the competition will walk away with scholarships of $2,000, $1,000, and $500 for first, second and third prizes.  The Education committee is able to double the amount of the scholarship awards thanks to a generous match by Killam Development.

The competition, which was launched initially in 2019, officially kicks off this month with a deadline of April 16, 2021, for submitting entries.  In setting down the ground rules, the members of the committee agreed that personal motivation and community pride should be the focus of the program and aptly decided to title it Spirit of Laredo. 

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The competition was conceptualized with two goals in mind.  On the one hand, the committee seeks to provide a financial opportunity for interested graduating students. On the other, the idea is to provoke a sense of pride in the local community among young adults.  

Applicants are asked to submit a 90-second video detailing 1) What inspires them to pursue a college education and how will they apply that to make Laredo a better place? 2)  What would they like Laredo to be known for? What is the Laredo Chamber of Commerce’s role in Laredo’s development? and 3) Given that many students leave Laredo after graduation, what would it take for them and other future college graduates to build their future in Laredo versus somewhere else? 

Winners of the competition will walk away with one of the three scholarships, but they’ll also earn “bragging rights” – competition entries will be featured through the Chamber’s social media network.  The members of the committee encourage participants to be as creative as possible in the production of their videos.The deadline for submitting an entry is Friday, April 16, 2021.  Rules, additional information and application forms for the competition are available at the Laredo Chamber of Commerce website www.laredochamber.com, or by contacting the Chamber office at 956-722-9895. 

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