Vasquez earns PHS Teacher of the Year

By CONNIE NOLEN | Community Columnist

“Thank you for helping students learn English; you are amazing.” Written on the green heart on Juan Vasquez’s classroom door, this message marked an addition to the Pelham United or Pelham Unidos gift of creating a heart for every PHS student. In February of 2020, all Pelham High School teachers, admins, and support personnel had hearts also expressing appreciation from students.

Juan Vasquez co-sponsors Pelham United with freshman English teacher Jessica Swann. For the 2019-20 academic year, Vasquez was selected as Pelham High School’s Teacher of the Year.

“I teach the newcomers in our Language Acquisition class and assist with sheltered English 9 and 10. I helped with sheltered biology last year and I taught sheltered health,” Vasquez said when asked what he does at PHS.

In addition to this class load, Vasquez also serves PHS in many other ways. He serves as a translator in parent meetings when needed and he even makes calls to students’ homes if teachers discover a language barrier when we attempt to call.

Vasquez serves a very paternal role in addition to his professional role at PHS. All students look up to him valuing his no nonsense manner and his good humor. Quick with a smile, Vasquez is also an innovator. Along with broadcast teacher Justin Foster, he has come up with the idea of a Pelham Festival to bring everyone together in the spring.

“Pelham Festival will be unique,” said Vasquez. “We will bring the community and families in to join with our students. We will have food, music and fun.

This father of three may come by the paternal role naturally.

“My wife works at B. L. Harbert International as the Logistics Manager. Her career is the reason why we moved to Hoover, Alabama,” said Vasquez.

PHS is very fortunate to have this Texas native in our midst. Congrats to Juan Vasquez, PHS Teacher of the Year.