Desert Oasis High School in Othello awarded second-year math teacher Olivia Camacho Thursday, Oct. 25 with this year’s Challenge Coin for her commitment and dedication both in and out of the classroom.
“Olivia always gives 110 percent of herself and will not stop at anything to ensure that her students understand a concept,” wrote Desert Oasis Principal Josh Tovar in an email to the Columbia Basin Herald. “Olivia instructs in both Spanish and English and has some of the best relationships with her students that I have seen.”
Tovar said that student math test scores have improved significantly with Camacho as a teacher and that she will be vital to helping students close achievement gaps in the coming weeks.
“Students at DOHS find her easy to relate to and can’t seem to get enough of Ms. Camacho,” Tovar said. “Olivia has committed towards helping our students fill in their academic gaps and we look forward to the growth that will take place this year.”
Outside of the classroom, Tovar said that Camacho has been heavily involved in taking on the school’s new Algebra curriculum, regularly attends the school’s professional learning community meetings and was involved in the school’s Little Libraries project, where students constructed wooden community-library nooks to install throughout Othello.
For herself, Camacho said it was an honor to be recognized for the work that she does.
“I didn’t know I was going to be awarded, so it was really nice to be recognized,” Camacho said.
Camacho said that a teacher had helped encourage her to get her education when she was growing up, and that becoming a teacher was a way of passing on the gift that she had been given.
“Education is very important as a way to improve your life, and I want to do that for my students” Camacho said.
The award was a surprise to Camacho and the student-body, which had ostensibly only gathered to celebrate September’s Students of the Month: Carlos Segura, Adrian Velsaquez, Esmeralda Perez, Alejandro Ramirez, Pedro Villanueva, Rocio Pineda, Bianca Solis and Alfredo Ocampo, all of whom were nominated by a different teacher. Jazmin Arceno, Giovani Leos, Anay Pineda, Oscar Ventura and Pedro Villanueva also earned accolades for perfect attendance in September.
Tovar surprised Camacho with the Challenge Coin at the end of the assembly and praised the relatively new teacher’s hard work and passion.
“In the opinion of DOHS Staff and Administration, Ms. Camacho is second to no one when it comes to Math instruction and we are honored to have her on our staff,” Tovar wrote.