Teachers inducted into Hall of Fame

(05-09-2012)

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Pictured, left to right, Charlotte Bobicki, Martha J. Valdez, John B. Roybal Jr., Inez Oaks (accepting for Floyd Oaks Sr., deceased), Don Stegman (accepting for Donald M. Brooks, deceased), Barbara Relyea, Mary Motz (accepting for Marv Motz, deceased), Angelina Velasquez, Charlie Jaquez Jr., Becky Forster (accepting for Adah Morgan, deceased), Mike Gomez, and Charlotte Coombs (accepting for Deanna Thomas, deceased).

Over 100 people attended the inaugural Adams State College Educator Hall of Fame Celebration to honor individuals whose dedication to their professional career enabled students to succeed academically, professionally and personally.

The ceremony, held May 7 in the Student Union Building banquet rooms, honored Charlotte Bobicki, Donald M. Brooks, Mike Gomez, Charlie Jaquez Jr., Adah Morgan, Marvin Motz, Floyd Oaks Sr., Barbara Relyea, John B. Roybal Jr., Deanna Thomas, Martha J. (Marti Jo) Valdez, and Angelina Velasquez. All recipients received a small tile plaque and a larger plaque will be mounted in Adams State McDaniel Hall. Brooks, Morgan, Motz, Oaks, Thomas were recognized posthumously.

Upon receiving their awards, the recipients thanked their students and expressed, with humility and honesty, affection for their chosen career. The following summaries do little to fully credit these former educators who inspired generations of young people to achieve their full potential.

Receiving her plaque, Bobicki said she enjoyed all aspects of education, from teaching special education to administration. "I have many emotions as I accept this award." Bobicki appreciated her family's support throughout her 36 years in the education field. She received the Adams State Outstanding Alumna of the Year and taught in Albuquerque, N.M., Fredrick, Maryland, Center and Alamosa. She also served two terms as Alamosa County Commissioner.

Brooks taught English courses at Adams State. Don Stegman, emeritus professor of English, accepted the award on his behalf, describing Brooks as methodical, organized, and an energetic classroom teacher. "Don (Brooks) was a consummate classroom teacher. He loved the atmosphere of the classroom; and most of all, he loved the students. He made them better writers and better people."

Through his years teaching middle school students, Gomez was often asked how he managed that age group. He said: "Their energy and excitement rubbed off on me." He taught English courses and eventually became the secondary principal at Centennial School District. He has served on numerous committees and co-founded Mariachi San Luis, continuing to teach guitar to young people.

Jaquez also worked for the Centennial School District, teaching mathematics and science at the high school. He also served on the Centennial School District Board of Education, was president of the San Luis Valley Board of Cooperative Education Services, was an adjunct professor at Adams State, as well as serving on other community and school organizations. "If I had my life to live over again, I would teach."

When Morgan started her career, teachers were in short supply. She taught all elementary grades for a total of 43 years -- 32 years in Sanford. She received the Sanford Teacher of the Year, San Luis Valley Outstanding Teacher Award, and an award for appreciation, for her exemplary teaching. Her daughter, Becky Forster, accepted the Educator Hall of Fame plaque on her behalf.

Through his career, Motz taught psychology at Adams State and held administrative positions, including twice as interim president. His youngest daughter, Susan Arnold, accepted his plaque. She said her father loved teaching and believed if students only have "easy problems to solve," what is the value of education. Motz received the Adams State Billy Adams Award and his philosophy, in life, the classroom, and the boardroom, was to use humor to educate and relate to others.

Oaks taught science in the Alamosa Schools for 30 years, during that time he was awarded Teacher of the Year. His wife, Inez, said: "Floyd always said it wasn't his teaching; it was his outstanding students who made the difference."

Ahead of her time, Relyea understood pedagogy requires constant refreshment of material and innovative approach. She organized events such as job days, "A Fair of the Heart," and an outdoor classroom experience in which students spent three days at Beaver Creek Youth Camp. Relyea received Teacher of the Year in Conservation and Home Economics Teacher of the Year. "I had a great time teaching."

Using the GI Bill to attend Adams State, Roybal served as an instrument of change during his career in education. He taught, served as principal, superintendent and head of the school board, always working to improve systems, programs, and institutions, at all levels. He was awarded the Adams State Outstanding Alumnus Award, was presented with a Governor's Proclamation by Governor Roy Romer, and received the Colbert Cushing Award by the Colorado Association of Executives for Significant Contributions to the Education Profession. He expressed support for Adams State becoming a university, "Other universities do half of what Adams State is already doing."

Thomas worked 33 years in the North Conejos School District, teaching wherever she was needed. Her daughter, Charlotte Coombs, accepted the plaque saying her mother set a "tremendous" example. Thomas, widowed at age 51, raised her seven children, managed the family farm and enjoyed her teaching career.

Valdez was involved in all levels of education for 46 years. She received the Trinidad State Junior College Faculty of the Year and served on numerous boards and committees. Her family members expressed pride in Valdez being a positive role model for other Hispanic women and her skills at demonstrating leadership in and out of the classroom. "I love my students," Valdez added.

Describing her professional career in education as "wonderful," Velasquez said she always appreciated the support from principals, parents, and students. She taught for nearly 50 years, many of the schools in isolated areas such as Ortiz, San Rafael and Las Mesitas. She received the South Conejos Teacher of the Year and continues to support non-profit organizations.

Understanding the need to recognize outstanding educators, Ted Morrison originated the idea for the Educator Hall of Fame. He and other committee members, including Betty Shawcroft, Lynn Crowder, Teacher Education professional program coordinator; Kurt Cary, associate department head of Teacher Education; Lori Laske, director of Alumni Relations; Mary Motz, and Don Stegman, reviewed nominations for the award. The event was made possible by the following contributors: Alamosa State Bank, San Luis Valley Federal Bank, and Ted Morrison/Arby's.

Morrison also thanked the Adams State Athletics Department, including their business manager, Diane Lee, for producing the program.