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Manny Peña’s legacy of love and learning lives on

Roosevelt students working with Camelot students at Academic Field Day

Emmanuel “Manny” Peña’s passion for teaching and learning lives on today in the form of a beloved tradition at Camelot Elementary School. 

Each year, Camelot students get excited about learning during the Manny Peña Academic Field Day. Manny dreamed of being a teacher and volunteered often at Camelot. But his life was cut short in a tragic car accident just three months after he graduated.

Roosevelt High School PALS teacher Mary Thompson had Manny as a student and remembers how contagious his love for learning was. That’s why it was important for this field day to continue. 

“He was so passionate about becoming a teacher,” said Thompson. “He really took the reins his junior and senior years and organized this, so we want to carry on his memory.”

The event is a collaboration between Roosevelt PALS, Gifted and Talented (GT) English students and Ready, Set, Teach students. It also features Design and Technology Academy (DATA), Engineering & Technology Academy (ETA) and Roosevelt students. Camelot students rotate through academic stations “field day” style. Each challenge was created by GT students with core Texas Essential Knowledge and Skills (TEKS) in mind. 

Roosevelt teachers who helped arrange field day event“We did an activity to help them remember rhyming and onomatopoeia,” said Katie Bass, sophomore GT student. “So, my job was to ask them questions and make sure they understand the difference and can give examples.” 

“We love interacting with the kids and teaching them how to improve their academic skills,” said William Chhang, senior PALS member. “Manny was a very bright student who had a lot of ideas and Mrs. Thompson shared how inspiring he was with the PALS.”

Manny’s dream of being a teacher lives on in others. ETA senior Nicole Garcia wants to be a teacher too. The loving, giving spirit that our teachers are remembered for was on full display at the Manny Peña Academic Field Day. 

“The kids are amazing and it’s awesome on these field days you can see how excited they are. I want to be an education major, so this has been a lot of fun for me.”

Posted by Lila Stanley
Posted on 11-2-22