LBUSD teacher among many to be honored at tonight’s USC game

Nearly two dozen Los Angeles County teachers, including one from the Long Beach Unified School District, will be honored during tonight’s USC-Fresno State football game in connection with January’s national championship game at SoFi Stadium.

Martha Alba-Gonzalez, who teaches at the LBUSD’s Chavez Elementary School near Downtown, is among the honorees.

The event is part of a broader effort, dubbed “Champions Educate Here,” by the College Football Playoff Foundation, the Los Angeles College Football Playoff National Championship Host Committee and the LA84 Foundation to highlight teachers in school districts across Los Angeles County leading up to the national championship game.

Up to 46 educators will receive up to $20,000 toward their efforts at their respective schools through the program.

“‘Champions Educate Here’ will not only provide support but also shine a bright spotlight on local educators using sport, play and movement to accelerate their students’ recovery from the pandemic and improve outcomes in the classroom,” said Renata Simril, president and CEO of the LA84 Foundation and president of the Play Equity Fund.

“With our partners, we look forward to supporting more educators and helping create opportunities throughout the season that have a lasting impact on youth across Los Angeles County.”

Of the 23 teachers being recognized Saturday at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum, 14 are from the Los Angeles Unified School District, three from the Inglewood Unified School District, and one each from the Compton, Downey, El Rancho and Long Beach unified school districts and parochial schools in Gardena and La Puente.

More recipients will be announced later in the year as nominations remain open. To qualify, educators must serve high-needs schools in Los Angeles County.

“The College Football Playoff National Championship is both a high-profile event and a celebration of excellence by college athletes on the field. It represents the culmination of dedicated teamwork sustained over an entire season to arrive at a history-making moment,” said James Rishwain, chairman of the Los Angeles College Football Playoff National Championship Host Committee.

“More important, this epic sporting event is a reflection of the profound commitment our local educators show to our youth every day. Along with this national championship game, we are delighted to honor deeply deserving local educators for their work with our youth.”

The College Football Playoff Foundation will also work with the Los Angeles, Pasadena and Inglewood districts to provide additional grants through its Extra Yard for Teachers initiative, which seeks to retain and recruit teachers.

Staff writer Hayley Munguia contributed to this report.

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