Shadow Mountain high school teacher wins Gaydos and Chad’s teacher tribute
PHOENIX — A high school teacher in Phoenix has been named KTAR News 92.3 FM’s Gaydos and Chad Show’s Pay Tribute to a Teacher winner for October, presented by Your Valley Toyota Dealers.
Gabriella Brown teaches freshman and junior English at Shadow Mountain High School while advising the school’s Chapter of Veterans Heritage Project, which connects students to veterans in an effort to honor veterans and preserve America’s heritage.
In her four years of teaching — and three years within the organization — she’s led the publication of two editions of the organization’s student book publication, Since You Asked, and under her direction, at least 95 veteran stories have been published and archived with the Library of Congress.
The excellence she displays in serving her community, caring for her students and preserving veterans’ stories prompted her colleagues to nominate her for the $2,500 prize.
“Many students remained at home for school with no extracurricular activities and connections. Mrs. Brown made sure that her after school club — Veterans Heritage Project — remained vibrant and active by holding regular virtual meetings,” Kevin Storey, the Veterans Heritage co-advisor, wrote in an email.
Storey added that Brown “arranged interviews over Zoom with veterans so that students could continue in the VHP mission of recording veterans stories.”
One of her former students wrote, “I can truly and honestly say that editing the book in the company of Mrs. Brown and fellow VHP members was one of the most fun, funny, and rewarding after school activities I have ever been a part of.
“And finally, to top it all off, even though I am now in college I am still writing a story for this year’s Edition for the Shadow Mountain High School chapter run by the great Mrs. Brown. If that doesn’t say what kind of impact she has had on my life, I don’t know what does.”
Brown said this year alone the students have interviewed 15 veterans from different conflict era’s.
“What got me involved was the kids — they’re passionate, they’re great leaders, and they’re learning so much about our country, and about service and leadership,” Brown said.
“We were able to keep this project going and we did all our interviews through Zoom…I think it was really good for our kids to be able to do that and to feel a sense of community, and I also think it was really good for our veterans.”
Brown added that once the book is published with the veterans’ stories, a book reception is hosted where students get to present the veterans the books.
She said the program hasn’t collected the funds for the publication so she’ll likely use the prize money to publish the book.