SAN ANTONIO -- Southwest Independent School District struck up the band to honor one of their teachers.

They also brought in their Mariachi group at McNair Middle School to pay tribute to the KENS 5 SACU ExCel Award winner Michael Maldonado.

He teaches Cyber Security and his students are learning how to remove computer viruses and build a firewall.

They're learning it from the man who started the program here and then wrote the Cyber Security high school curriculum for the entire state of Texas.

"We make it real world, we don't give them scenarios. This is something that really happened, now go and figure out how to fix it. They're surprised at how much they can do at the end of the course." Maldonado said.

"When I first jumped in this class I knew nothing about cyber security," said sixth-grader Nicholas Kingman.

By the end of the year, these 12-year-olds will be IT specialists.

"I always thought computers were for research and watching movies. Mr. Maldonado has given me another point of view," said sixth grader Solangel Perez.

"It's a great place for our kids to find career opportunities," Maldonado said.

Maldonado's Cyber Patriot teams have won first in state two years in a row. He lets students know each can be a winner.

"I grew up on the Southside of town, my parents both dropped out of high school there really aren't limits as to what we can do. I always tell my kids if you want to do something, just do it," Maldonado said.

"I didn't really like school but since I moved to middle school. It’s been like different and I like it," said sixth-grader Brendan Mora.

"Teachers don't just teach the content, they're counselors, and they’re friends. Teachers can really make a difference and I had some teachers who really made an impact on me in high school so I was hoping to be able to do that for some kids as well," Maldonado said.

Michael Maldonado has clearly succeeded in that goal.