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Maplewood Teacher Recognized By Local News Station

Maplewood Elementary Teacher Ryan Lopez and his students in front of his new 2024 Hyundai Santa Fe on the playground.

One of our teachers received a very special surprise late last week.

You may have read in one of our recent newsletters that Maplewood Elementary teacher Ryan Lopez was a finalist in the King 5 Hyundai Hometown Heroes contest with a chance to win a brand-new car.

After weeks of public voting, representatives from King 5 and Hyundai USA stopped by Maplewood last Thursday to make the surprise announcement that Mr. Lopez was the winner of the contest and presented him with keys to a new Hyundai Santa Fe SUV. 

Mr. Lopez was nominated for the award by a group of his students’ parents. In their nomination, they noted that:

“Mr. Lopez is a unicorn in the teaching world. His dedication and effort to making a difference is unmatched. One step inside his classroom and this is immediately obvious. Helping children learn and grow is his passion, and you can see it when you watch him work with them. He doesn’t just teach the materials. He takes the curriculum and then creates activities/experiments that provide a lesson on the topic in an interactive, relevant way that the kids understand and quickly grasp.”

Ryan Lopez hugging one of his Maplewood Elementary Colleagues

For his part, Mr. Lopez said he was shocked by the recognition and award, but mostly grateful to those who nominated him and have supported him throughout his teaching career.

“Being nominated by the parents of my students is the ultimate compliment to my practice. If my parents and guardians can capture my ‘why’ at home from conversations and feelings of their kids, then I must be doing something right,” said Lopez. “I am so thankful to my past and current colleagues, students and families that have allowed me to develop my practices at their expense. All along they've allowed me to fail, take risks, and grow; trusting I had their best in mind. I have many to thank and am beyond blessed. Thank you to the Maplewood Elementary community for welcoming me in and treating me like family and believing in me.”

Watch Ryan's Special Day

Watch KING 5's surprise Lopez and hear from his colleagues and students.