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Terra Vista Middle School Teacher Announced as the Recipient for Excellence in Teaching Award

Back in November, fifteen Frenship educators, one from each Frenship ISD school, were nominated by their campus to be named one of Lubbock Christian’s Distinguished Educators. Through the selection process, Roel Sanchez from Terra Vista Middle School was chosen to represent the district as Frenship ISD’s overall nominee for the LCU Distinguished Educator. 

This past week, Sanchez was invited to the annual Lubbock Christian University Distinguished Educators Banquet where he was recognized. While there Sanchez was announced as one of the recipients for the LCU Award for Excellence in Teaching.   

The Award for Excellence in Teaching is presented annually from LCU to remarkable educators for their diligent efforts in educating tomorrow's generations and as an encouragement for the impact they make through the long hours and dedicated commitment to their students. 

Cale Bridges, Terra Vista Middle School Principal, shares the impact Sanchez has had is very evident through his students and their success.  

“Mr. Sanchez has built a program where students are wildly successful and ready to compete in the Frenship High School Tiger Band,” said Cale. “The success and accolades of our band students are consistent, clear, and important; however, I also think it is safe to say that Roel would consider one criteria above all others as his main accomplishment – that he leads a band program where students’ lives are changed.” 

Sanchez shares that it is very rewarding and humbling to not only be recognized as Frenship’s Distinguished Educator, but also receive the Award for Excellence in Teaching. 

“It’s a strange feeling because I have never been recognized for anything that I’ve ever done,” said Sanchez. “It has honestly been a very difficult year for me and I definitely feel like there are many other teachers that are more deserving than me, but the process of having students come in and read their letters of nominations, having administrators tell me that I was the TVMS nominee, and then finding out that I was the FISD nominee after that has been really impactful.” 

Sanchez shares that through receiving affirmation and recognition from others it has helped him to see the fruits of his labor.  

“Going through this has helped me understand that we might not ever see or understand the ways that we might be influencing student’s futures. This entire process has given me the ability to see that I am making a positive difference even though I might not always feel like it.” 

Sanchez says that he wasn’t always interested in pursuing music and band long term. Things changed for him when he received an award in high school.  

“I accidentally fell into the Band directing profession. I was lucky. I had no real educational prospects as I was exiting high school and was planning on joining the military or becoming an electrician/carpenter. I was good at playing my primary instrument, the Trombone, and in my senior year I became a Texas All-State Musician,” said Sanchez. 

After receiving the All-State Musician award, the Music Department Chair from Texas A&M University-Kingsville visited him before the end of his senior year and offered him a scholarship. Sanchez went on to be a first-generation college student earning his bachelor's degree in music education at Texas A&M University – Kingsville and a master's degree in music education at Texas Tech University. 

“As luck would have it, my first Job out of college was with Roma ISD, one of the most competitive band programs in Texas. Under the mentorship of Rudy Barrera and Dena Laurel I learned the fundamentals of teaching wind instruments and wind ensembles,” said Sanchez. “This is why I place so much importance on the development of individual skills and the audition processes of All Region Band competition because it somehow opened doors for me, and I hope that it will serve others the same way.”  

To improve his teaching and serve as a role model to his students, Sanchez even learned all the instruments in his band, which meant taking lessons in flute, clarinet, trumpet, and French horn. 

“This is a wild achievement for me, but I had lots of help along the way from many teachers and Administrators,” said Sanchez.  

Sanchez wants to thank everyone involved in his success, including the Terra Vista administrators, David Biel, Dr. Ryan Smith, Jeff Thomas, and his wife Nicole Sanchez.  

Sanchez also received $1,000 and an engraved brass teacher handbell at the banquet.  

Congratulations, Roel Sanchez! Frenship is proud to have you as an educator!