State and local Division CalRTA Teacher Grants


Six local teachers receive grants for classroom use

Fulfilling its mission to “support public education in our communities,” the State California Retired Teachers Association awarded 40 $100 teacher grants to California public school teachers – including two local educators – randomly selected from over 40,000 applicants in their recent October drawing. Amanda Weden, a fifth-grade teacher at Taawila Elementary School in Menifee, and Tahquitz High School Special Education teacher, Odalmy Cecala, were announced as grant recipients. As an added bonus, both teachers also received a matching $100 from CalRTA Division 33, for a total of $200 each to use in their classrooms. Weden plans to use the $200 to buy supplemental materials to help her students with hands-on classroom experiences. Ms. Cecala says the $200 will go a long way in purchasing sensory equipment for her many Special Education students. The next CalRTA statewide teacher grant drawing will be held in March, with online entry forms available between February 16, 2022 and March 9, 2022. To access the entry form, go to or check out CalRTA’s Facebook page:

Amanda Weden (rt) with Taawila Elementary School Principal Daphne Donoho Courtesy Photos of CalRTA Division

But those were not the only local educators to receive grant money this past month. Guests at CalRTA Division 33’s October luncheon also randomly drew the names of four lucky $100 Teacher Grant winners from nearly 80 local applicants. San Jacinto High School Life Skills teacher, Marcie Murphy, is going to purchase educational apps for her class to use on their Promethean Board. Murrieta Mesa High School math teacher, Yadira Mokelke, will put the $100 towards purchasing a class set of scientific calculators for her Math 1 Basic A class. In this modified Math 1 class with specialized academic instruction, her students need to learn how to use available tools such as calculators to solve problems. Jessica Sotelo from Hemet West Valley High School will use the $100 to help pay for the online platforms she uses with her students, such as Padlet, a content sharing app, and Gimkit, a gameshow for the classroom). Finally, Laura Azpeitia, who teaches at Jacob Wiens Elementary School in Hemet, plans to purchase a STEAM Kit for her students, with hands-on technology projects to work on collaboratively or individually.

Odalmy Cecala (left) with Tahquitz High School Principal Kari McGowan Courtesy Photos of CalRTA Division

CalRTA Division 33’s next drawing will be on December 12th at their holiday luncheon. Teachers in Hemet, San Jacinto, Lake Elsinore, Menifee, Murrieta, Temecula, Romoland and Nuview districts may apply. Applications can be accessed starting November 14th at or on their Facebook page:

Yadira Mokelke, Murrieta Mesa High School Courtesy Photos of CalRTA Division

Sue Breyer | CalRTA Division 33 Vice President

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