ARIZONA NEWS

Avondale high school teacher wins Gaydos and Chad’s teacher tribute

Nov 23, 2022, 8:00 PM
(Photo by Sydni Ward)
(Photo by Sydni Ward)

PHOENIX — A West Valley school teacher was 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.

Sydni Ward teaches 12th grade at West Point High School in Avondale. Her determination to empower students prompted one letter writer to suggest her for the $2,500 prize.

Ward has been teaching for eight years and has connected with many of her students over the years. The memories of one student toward the start of her career in Virginia will carry on throughout her life.

After some time of being challenged by a student named Demonte, the pair developed a new communication skill — Ward began to ask him to write her letters that she would reply to.

“In these letters, he would talk to me about how he was doing these things outside of school that nobody would know about, like he was in this gang… and he couldn’t ever openly talk about it using his voice, but he would always put it in a letter,” Ward said.

Demonte was shot and killed the next summer, she said.

“I was 23 years old, didn’t know what I was doing, I didn’t even know how to process that grief,” Ward said.

“I say I have all of these letters from this child that I look back on every year as I prepare myself to get into the next school year because there are so many things that you never know that is going on in these other kids’ worlds and he is a prime example of that.”

Demonte changed her career drastically, she said.

“These letters spoke for themselves. They talked about his dreams and the things that he hoped to do, some type of legacy that he would leave behind, just the little things that you just didn’t have the chance to hear him say out loud, you know?” Ward explained.

Demonte’s legacy will continue to live on through her reward, which she intends to put toward providing Valley students expanded education.

Ward said she plans to use the money to purchase books her students would never get the chance to read otherwise.

Lifetime Windows & Doors

We want to hear from you.

Have a story idea or tip? Pass it along to the KTAR News team here.

Arizona News

(Pexels Photo)...
KTAR.com

Former border agent indicted in sexual assault, kidnapping of Arizona minor

A former border patrol agent in Arizona was indicted Wednesday on charges of sexually assaulting and kidnapping of a minor, federal authorities said.
12 hours ago
(YouTube Screenshot)...
KTAR.com

Lockdown lifted at 2 Scottsdale schools after police respond to gun report

Two schools in north Scottsdale were placed on lockdown for several hours Friday morning in response to reports of a person with a gun.
12 hours ago
Henry Mcleod (Maricopa County Sheriff's Office Photo)...
KTAR.com

Suspect accused of stabbing Mesa Fry’s employee after feeling ‘disrespected’

A man was arrested in Mesa after he allegedly stabbed a grocery store worker because he felt disrespected by him last month, authorities said.
12 hours ago
(Luke Forstner/KTAR News)...
Luke Forstner

Growing Asian District in Mesa budding with enthusiasm for restaurants, shops, diversity

The Asian District in Mesa has come to life with enthusiasm for its restaurants, grocers and variety of other businesses.
12 hours ago
(Butterfly Wonderland Facebook Photo/Getty Images)...
KTAR.com

Weekend guide: Here are the biggest events around metro Phoenix for Dec. 2-4

With holiday season activities in full swing, here are some of the biggest events in metro Phoenix this weekend.
12 hours ago
(The Global Ambassador Photo)...
Kevin Stone

Mediterranean rooftop restaurant coming to Phoenix’s Global Ambassador hotel

Sam Fox announced that Theà Mediterranean Rooftop will be one of five original restaurants at his first hotel project, The Global Ambassador.
12 hours ago

Sponsored Articles

(Desert Institute for Spine Care photo)...
DESERT INSTITUTE FOR SPINE CARE

Why DISC is world renowned for back and neck pain treatments

Fifty percent of Americans and 90% of people at least 50 years old have some level of degenerative disc disease.
...
Quantum Fiber

How high-speed fiber internet can improve everyday life

Quantum Fiber supplies unlimited data with speeds up to 940 mbps, enough to share 4K videos with coworkers 20 times faster than a cable.
...
Day & Night Air Conditioning, Heating and Plumbing

Ways to prevent clogged drains and what to do if you’re too late

While there are a variety of ways to prevent clogged drains, it's equally as important to know what to do when you're already too late.
Avondale high school teacher wins Gaydos and Chad’s teacher tribute