LifeChanger of the Year Nominee Profile

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Rebecca Gonzalez

Position: Special Education Spanish Teacher
School: Vineland High School
School District: Vineland School District
City, State: Vineland, NJ

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Rebecca Gonzalez was nominated by her colleague, Caridad Cloud.

"Mrs. Gonzalez is one of the most impressive educators I have ever had the pleasure to work with. We spent 3 years together co-teaching Spanish at the high school level," said Cloud. "In the time I served with her, she never ceased to amaze me and was a change maker in the lives of our students and colleagues."

Mrs. Gonzalez' approach to teaching is as holistic as it gets. She is not only concerned with the academic achievement of students in her classroom and other subjects, but she is profoundly concerned with their general well-being and state of mind. Mrs. Gonzalez never shies away from getting to know students. She gets to know them to the core and knows how to talk them through difficult times and celebrate their good times.

"I personally witness her going above and beyond to reach out to other colleagues and members of our community. She mentors and helps some of our students that might have otherwise been lost in their hardships," said Cloud.

Mrs. Gonzalez also uses her favorite hobby to inspire and care for students. Aside from being a wonderful special education and Spanish educator, Mrs. Gonzalez is a phenomenal cook. She brings this love into students' cultural studies. She not only makes authentic Puerto Rican dishes that are the everyday norm for her family, but she makes dishes from every Spanish-speaking nation and brings them in for students to try. Beyond just cultural exposure, she often brings in full meals for students who are sick, going through a difficult time, or those whom might not get a chance to eat otherwise. In this way, she reaches children who are often unreachable due to their home circumstances and provides them with a home-like atmosphere they might not have anywhere else. 

Mrs. Gonzalez is a true hero. She knows that to teach a student, you truly have to reach them.

"I have had the pleasure in the past three years to witness first hand how education, nurturing, and love goes hand and hand to create success," said Cloud. "Mrs. Gonzalez not only cares for our students in this fashion, but everyone she works with. She makes it her personal mission to make sure everyone is having a good day and a good meal. She is a true inspiration, and Vineland High School is lucky to have a shining star like her."