TUCSON, Ariz. (KGUN) — John Contreras is the 2021 recipient of Governors Arts Award in Arts in Education. Contreras is the Mariachi Aztlan director at Pueblo High School in Tucson.
"My biggest award I would say is the opportunity to see these young students grow up and be successful themselves," Contreras said. "It makes me feel like I'm doing my job."
"His classroom is just home," Abigail Chavez, a senior at Pueblo High School, said.
The students view Contreras as more than just a teacher.
"He's been there for us on various occasions not just as a teacher but as a mentor," Alexander Pizarro, a senior at Pueblo High School, said.
Contreras grew up in Tucson and was always surrounded by music.
"I've been playing mariachi music probably since I was at least 7 or 8 years old," Contreras said.
He played professionally all over the world, but then came back to Tucson to be a teacher. He has taught at Pueblo High School for over 18 years now.
If you are interested in seeing more performances from Mariachi Aztlan, check out this video here.