Classroom spending in Arizona has increased for the second year in a row, according to an annual report from the state Auditor General’s Office.

Chicanos Por La Causa has chosen four 2019 Esperanza Latino Teacher award winners in Arizona, one of which is a Tucson educator. The award includes $5,000 for the educator and $2,500 for the teacher’s school.

The organization, along with the school’s principal and coworkers, surprised Cecelia Padilla, a third-grade teacher at Cragin Elementary School with the award.

Padilla overcame a tumultuous childhood and marriage before returning to school and graduating with a degree in education at 40, according to a news release.

“In her classroom, she has created a welcome and culturally responsive learning environment,” says a Chicanos Por La Causa news release. “Through student-centered instruction, she caters to each student’s individual needs. Her mission is to help students to be prepared for their futures and confident in their abilities to succeed.”

Padilla created reading programs for at-risk youth, supported programs that help the homeless and teaches Sunday school to children at church, the news release says. She welcomes her students to class every day by saying, “Good morning, future doctors, lawyers and engineers.”

Marana Unified to serve free lunch to kids Oct. 14-18

Marana Unified School District will be running its Marana Cares Mobil during the district’s fall break, Oct. 14-18, providing free food, WiFi and use of Chromebooks with literacy encouragement.

The brightly-colored and air-conditioned school bus has been offering meals during school breaks since 2015 and has served close to 10,000 meals, a news release says.

“Marana Cares Mobile allows us to give more back to our community by doing what is the very best for children,” MUSD Superintendent Doug Wilson said. “Nutrition is critical to a child’s ability to learn and be successful. This service allows us to meet those needs during times when students are not at school so they are better prepared to return to school ready to learn.”

The bus will be open from 11 a.m. to noon on the southeast corner of Sandario and Anthony roads, next to the Marana Congregation of Jehovah’s Witnesses and from 12:30 to 1:30 p.m. at 6560 W. El Tiro Road, at the Marana Domestic Water Improvement District.

To find out more, to see menus or to donate go to

Clinic awards $5,000 to Tanque Verde High

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FastMed Urgent Care awarded Tanque Verde High School $5,000 as the recipient of the clinic’s Back to School sweepstakes.

A Tanque Verde High parent took his son for a physical at FastMed’s Tanque Verde clinic and entered the school into the sweepstakes.

FastMed awarded the sweepstakes in “hopes to make a difference by propelling the athletic and extracurricular initiatives of local schools,” a news release said. This is the first time the clinic held the sweepstakes, in which it randomly selected one nominated school in each of the three states where it operates.

Catholic school to hold public event with food and entertainment

Saint Ambrose School and Parish is holding its annual fiesta, which is free and open to the public and will include live entertainment, food, a silent auction and games.

The event is on Oct. 11 from 4 to 10 p.m. and Oct. 12 from 2 to 10 p.m. at 300 S. Tucson Blvd.

Contact reporter Danyelle Khmara at or 573-4223.

On Twitter: @DanyelleKhmara


Danyelle joined the Star in 2018 and covers K-12 education. Previously, Danyelle wrote for the Tucson Weekly where she won several statewide awards including story of the year and first place investigative reporting.