Editor's note: This content is sponsored by TeachersCan.org.
SAN ANTONIO - It's been a tough year for Texas educators, so KENS 5 is partnering with #TeachersCan in an effort to help teachers fulfill their classroom needs. KENS 5 is highlighting educators in San Antonio and across Texas after one full year of COVID-19 precautions.
Nico Champion is a theater teacher at San Antonio ISD. As a first-year teacher, performing in a pandemic is all he knows.
“It’s been understandably crazy and fun, certainly," Champion said. "But challenging as well."
He and his students have rehearsed from different bedrooms and living rooms across the city. In 2020, countless hours online prepared them for the virtual stage.
This year, much like learning, performances have gone hybrid.
“By the end of April, we will have done three performances that had at least some in-person component," Champion said.
His students are back to building structures that bring scenes to life, but their creative vision takes time and comes at a cost.
“We’re looking for funding to create performance settings for the coming years,” Champion said.
He said they need a little more than $2,400 for tools and materials.
Through Donors Choose, you can help them set the stage. The organization has partnered with #TeachersCan, a movement to improve learning led by educators.
Kevin Brown is the executive director for the Texas Association of School Administrators. He said Texans' generosity can greatly impact local classrooms.
“Texas is one of the lower-funded states in the United States for education," Brown said. “TASA, my organization, is one of more than 125 businesses and organizations that are supporting the #TeachersCan movement, trying to raise money for teachers across the State of Texas.”
People can donate to specific teachers, classrooms and projects. He said their goal is to raise up to $1.5 million for teachers like Champion.
“All of us have had teachers throughout our lives who have touched us in a way that benefitted our lives and influenced us in a positive way," Brown said. "And this is a way that all of us can give back, in honor of the teachers who impacted our lives.”
Champion said the stage is where students grow. It's more than a hobby for them.
"A lot of our productions deal with issues of social justice and issues that our students are dealing with day to day," Champion said. "It's a safe space, not only for the students in the shows, but those coming to see the performances, too."
By touching on tough topics, students tend to find their voice. A voice that has carried through computer screens.
“With this funding, we’d be able to make that happen and continue this tradition of putting on productions that create those conversational spaces," Champion said.
If you'd like to make a donation to help Champion and his students, click here.