SAISD Shines at 23rd Annual Chamber Diversity Awards with Honoree Christy Diego and Featured Speaker CHS Senior Sam Spurgin

San Angelo ISD proudly announces Christy Diego, Director of Emergent Bilingual, was honored Tuesday at the 23rd Annual San Angelo Chamber of Commerce Celebration of Diversity Awards Luncheon, which also featured Central High School Senior Sam Spurgin as a speaker.

At the event, the Chamber recognizes and awards individuals and businesses that both reflect and support our community’s diversity. Mrs. Diego was awarded the Communicator Award, an award for work in providing information about issues and events important to minority communities, in recognition of her dedication to growing the SAISD Bilingual Program, now in its third year. 

“Ms. Diego is incredibly deserving of this diversity award. Her passion for helping students and families succeed is evident in everything she does, and goes well beyond school walls and the work week. From countless hours of direct parent and educator relationship building, to special events like leading the recent Manos a La Obra event, to program review and development for the maximum benefit for students, to community outreach like involvement in the City’s Dia de Los Muertos event and collaborating with Conexion, she is constantly looking for new ways to meaningfully engage our families and grow the Bilingual Program - all for the benefit of the kids, families and our San Angelo community,” said SAISD Executive Director of Communications Whitney Wood.

The Bilingual Program works with students with Spanish as their primary language by using that language as a resource while acquiring full proficiency in English including listening, speaking, reading and writing skills. Developing a child’s home language is also critical for developing their English language skills, and research has shown that English learners who receive bilingual instruction at an early age are more successful academically and have higher achievements in later grades. SAISD started the program in the 2020-2021 school year. Under her guidance, the number of students enrolled in the program has now grown by over 160%. To hear more about Ms. Diego's passion for the program, watch the video below this story provided courtesy of the Chamber.

In addition to Ms. Diego’s award, the District also proudly recognizes Central High School senior Sam Spurgin on the distinct honor of being a featured speaker at the event. Sam presented on Autism Awareness to help raise awareness for the local Autism community, providing insights from an internationally award-winning DECA project by the senior. 

“During the past two years in DECA, I have seen Sam build confidence, professionalism, and the drive to take a passion from a dream to a reality. I love that DECA provides opportunities for students to gain real world experience by working with local professionals and I cannot wait to see all of the amazing things that Sam will accomplish through this project and the support of our community,” said Central High School Career & Technical Education Teacher and DECA advisor Lindsay Ward.  

SAISD is proud of Sam sharing expertise on the topic, and celebrates Sam’s incredible top 10 finalist placement in the Start-up Business Category competition at the DECA International Career Development Conference (ICDC) in Atlanta, Georgia last April. DECA, formerly Distributive Education Clubs of America, is a career and technical student organization with more than 177,000 members in all 50 U.S. states that prepares emerging leaders and entrepreneurs in marketing, finance, hospitality and management in high schools and colleges around the globe. The DECA ICDC hosts more than 20,000 high school students, teacher-advisors, business professionals and alumni where members demonstrate their college and career ready knowledge and skills by participating in DECA’s industry-validated competitive events program. Eight CHS students competed at the ICDC event, where Sam was a semifinalist and then went on to place in the top 10.

Other awardees at the Chamber’s luncheon included Sherley Spears for the Community Impact Award and Janis Baucom for the Business Success Award. Ms. Spears also gave a presentation on plans and progress on the San Angelo NAACP Buffalo Soldier Memorial at the luncheon, and Monica Ramos spoke about the San Angelo Hispanic Heritage Museum and Cultural Center’s current activities and plans. 

The Chamber held its first annual luncheon to celebrate and recognize businesses and individuals exemplifying diversity in our community in 1999. The latest criteria by the Chamber focus on the achievements and successes of the business owners, discovering how their diversity positively impacts and strengthens the greater San Angelo community. 

SAISD joins the Chamber in celebrating diversity, and notes that our “celebration of all the ways students are smart” is an extension of recognizing and celebrating diversity through the uniqueness of our students and their individual hopes and dreams. Join us in congratulating and thanking our outstanding Diversity Award winner Christy Diego, who truly makes a difference in our students' lives, and lifting up our DECA award-winning presenter, CHS senior Sam Spurgin! To stay up-to-date on San Angelo ISD, please visit the SAISD website at www.saisd.org and follow us on Facebook and Twitter