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Cienega teacher helps students reach new heights

Carla Wright of Cienega High School
Posted at 6:23 AM, Feb 12, 2021
and last updated 2021-02-12 08:24:53-05

TUCSON, Ariz. (KGUN) — Arizona Athletics and KGUN9 have teamed up to present the nominees for the University of Arizona Online Outstanding High School Faculty Award.

Cienega High School's Carla Wright is one of the finalists. She is helping her students reach new heights.

"You need to jump today like it's your last one for you seniors," Wright said. "They sure did and they made me proud."

Wright is describing a track meet last March, before COVID ended the season early.

Wright coaches high jumpers at Cienega High School. She also teaches Government to upperclassmen at Cienega.

"I really enjoy working with seniors who are kind of finishing up that last leg of childhood before they move into adulthood," said Wright during a Zoom interview. "To me it is essential that students have a great understanding of how our government works"

After her students learn about government, Wright has them take part in government.

They are involved in teen town halls, mock senate and mock trials.

She also has them write letters to government officials.

"It's especially fun when a student gets a letter back," recalled Wright. "We've had responses from Martha McSally, John McCain and even former President Trump. Students have gotten letters back."

Wright has also been involved in trying to help with her seniors deal with the disappointment of big events being canceled.

That's why she helped organize a drive-thru graduation last spring.

Now, she's thrilled to have her students back in the classroom even if it's hybrid learning with limited class sizes.

"It's just a really good feeling to see the kids here and to know that this is where they need to be," Wright said. "This is where they're going to thrive."

Carla Wright of Cienega High School
TUCSON, ARIZ. -- Teacher of the Year award recipients in McKale Arena. Dec. 14, 2020. Photo by Simon Asher / Arizona Athletics

Wright says she appreciates being a finalist for the Outstanding Teacher Award, which has given her a psychological boost.

"Being recognized really puts you over the top for your day. That somebody notices and somebody recognizes you and somebody cares it makes you really appreciate that."

Carla Wright is one of nine finalist for the Outstanding High School Faculty Award. The winner will be announced in early March.