TUCSON, Ariz. (KGUN) — Arizona Athletics and KGUN 9 present the nominees for the Teacher of the Year award.
Roberto Martinez is the director of the mariachi music education program at Sunnyside High School, and is one of nine finalists for the annual award.
"It's surreal," said Martinez.
He's describing the honor of being one of the Teacher of the Year finalists, after just a short time teaching at Sunnyside.
"This is my fourth year teaching, although I did start teaching back in 1981," recalled Martinez. "But I was a professional musician for 33 years out at Walt Disney World. And I wanted to go back to teach."
Martinez says his favorite part of teaching music is seeing his students mature as musicians and grow as young adults.
"That's one of the things I tell the kids is just don't go through life, I say grow through life," Martinez said. "Since this is my fourth year, I've had students started freshman year and to see them as seniors, it's incredible."
Martinez is one of nine finalist for the Arizona Athletics Teacher of the Year award.
The winner will be announced March 5, 2022.