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Alicia Caballero receives her award from Alpha Delta Kappa

BAS-TE alumna and Sun Valley teacher receives Alpha Delta Kappa grant

YVC alum and kindergarten teacher Alicia Caballero is always on the lookout for resources to help support her students. Caballero, who just completed her first year teaching at Sun Valley Elementary in Sunnyside, recently applied for and was awarded a $500 classroom grant from Alpha Delta Kappa.

Caballero was a non-traditional student when she first enrolled at YVC in 2013.

“When I started back in 2013 both me and my husband enrolled together. I had been a stay-at-home mom for several years and decided it was time to go back to school,” said Caballero.

For the couple, being able to attend school in the evening in their own community was crucial  — allowing them to be free during the day and support their children.

After earning her associate degree, Caballero went to work as a paraprofessional in the school district.

“I fell in love with the kids and being able to work with them and see them grow,” says Caballero. “I decided to return to school and pursue a bachelor’s degree and enrolled in YVC’s BAS-TE program.”

Students in Alicia Caballero's work with Lego's in class.
Students in Alicia Caballero's work with Legos in class.

“YVC’s program provided instructors that just cared. You could reach out to them at any time. They never gave me the idea that I didn’t matter, or my degree didn’t matter. I always felt like they were there through all of it.”

Instructors Netty Hull and Julie Johnston’s attention and care for students made a special impact on Caballero.

“They took a lot of their own time to help us get the through it all. It wasn’t just school, they helped make sure our mental health and well-being were taken care of as well,” she said, something that was especially helpful for students like Caballero who were pursuing their degree during the pandemic.

For Caballero having a full year of student teaching incorporated into YVC’s Bachelor of Applied Science in Teacher Education program was essential in helping her develop the tools to be an effective educator.

“For me I’m a visual person,” she said. “There is so much of teaching that you cannot read about in a book. You need to be in the classroom working with the kids. Having that experience has helped me so much during this first year of teaching. Without that experience I think I would have been completely lost this year.

“I am thankful that YVC’s program provided that for me. It was not perfect, but I can look back and say it was helpful for me. I was able to see how to manage a classroom from start to finish.”

kinetic sand
A student digs into the kinetic sand activity in Caballero's classroom.

Caballero’s experience during her student teaching ultimately led to a full-time position at the same school — where she’s always looking for opportunities that benefit her students.  

“The $500 grant I received helped a lot,” shared Caballero. “I was able to purchase hands-on STEM learning resources like magnetic blocks, Legos, kinetic sand and more. The kids were so excited each time I brought something new to the classroom. They use these new supplies every single day.”

Alpha Delta Kappa offers 49 awards with seven grants being awarded per region. Applicants for the grant, like Caballero, must be engaged in innovative teaching practices.

Next up, Caballero has her sights set on a master’s degree and plans to enroll next year in Western Governors University’s program. She also plans to continue to look for funding and resources to support her classroom and recently received another $200 donation through PaperMate’s Adopt a Classroom program.  

Marble activity
Students work on a marble Lego building activity.