On November 15, Governor Rick Scott honored Nathaly Ibarra, a seventh-grade teacher at H. L. Watkins Middle School and Mr. Brian Crouch, a Social Studies teacher of Lake Worth Community High School with the Excellence in Education Award during the annual Hispanic Heritage Month reception at the Florida Governor’s Mansion. Every year, during the Hispanic Heritage Month, Governor Scott and First Lady Ann Scott hold the Hispanic Heritage Month contest for students and teachers.
Ms. Ibarra works tirelessly and diligently to help students excel and to make them successful not only as students but as individuals.
“I want students to know that we, Hispanics, have contributed to this beautiful country, that we will continue to do so, and for those Hispanic students to understand that they can and should make a difference too,” she said.
Ibarra possesses a strong sense of community and instills this idea into her students. During Hispanic Heritage Month, she spent countless hours teaching her students about the Hispanic culture.
Year round, Ibarra provides students tutoring in Spanish, after hours, to ensure they do not fall behind while they increase their English fluency. Hispanic students and parents alike have found an invaluable support in her and her co-workers agree, “We are so fortunate to have Ms. Ibarra as part of the Seminole Family! She continues to make a difference daily!”
Mr. Brian Crouch
Lake Worth Community High School’s population is made up of mostly Guatemalan and Mexican immigrants. Crouch grew up in Guatemala and has brought a unique sense of comfort to Guatemalan students, as he is the only teacher on staff to have lived in the country.
Crouch knows the culture, food, arts, history, traditions, and the people of that wonderful country and his understanding and compassion made him their American liaison to educational success.
“In every aspect of my teaching, I strive to make the subject relatable not only to Hispanics but to all students,” Crouch said. “I believe that because of this emphasis I’ve had massive appeal among students.”
Crouch provides a hands-on level of experience and expertise in Hispanic culture. He brings a level of knowledge and desire to teach that is needed in this very socioeconomically challenged inner-city school.
Rebecca Mitchell, a fellow teacher says, “Crouch has brought a warmth and dignified kindness that our students yearn for. For many students, he is the only male figure in their life to care about them. He encourages excellence, kindness, compassion, and grace. He has made Lake Worth High School extraordinarily better.”
Crouch knows no prejudice or judgment in his heart, there are no disciplinary problems in his classes and this is mostly due to the atmosphere he has created.
“If you had told me five years ago that I would have been at the Governor’s mansion receiving an award, I would not have believed it.,” Crouch said. “Throughout the night, I remember turning to my wife and saying, “this does not feel real.”