Linda Salinas, a history teacher at Harlingen High School, was recently selected as a recipient of the 2018 Outstanding Teaching of the Humanities Award.
This prestigious award is presented annually by Humanities Texas and recognizes exemplary contributions of humanities teachers in Texas elementary, middle, and high schools.
“With so many deserving candidates, I am both honored and humbled to receive the 2018 Outstanding Teacher of Humanities Award, and am pleased to represent Harlingen CISD and my hometown,” said Salinas. “This award reflects not only my personal commitment to teaching and learning but also the support of my family, colleagues, HHS administration and Harlingen CISD. I would like to give my sincerest thanks to Humanities Texas for this recognition and for their dedication to transform teaching while strengthening communities in our state.”
Nominated by a former student, Salinas is one of 16 teachers in the state to earn the award. She will receive a check for $5,000 in recognition of her achievements. Additionally, her campus will receive $500 to purchase humanities instructional materials or improve humanities courses or programs.
“I have had the opportunity to witness the growth of this extraordinary educator since she began her teaching career in 2009,” said HHS principal Imelda Munivez. “Mrs. Salinas has maintained her passion and love for students and has taken her teaching to the next level. It is through the leadership and unending enthusiasm of teachers like Linda Salinas that students become passionate innovators finding their ‘why’ early in their lives.”
With the belief that all students deserve the best education possible, over the past nine years, Salinas has dedicated herself to maintaining the highest level of commitment to her teaching. She has even procured a collection of antiques including a 1950s sewing machine, a replica of the Wright Brothers plan, a1946 typewriter, and rotary phones among other items that she uses to bring history to life in her classroom.
She explained that this allows students to analyze past innovations and reflect on how these led to an improved standard of living, enhanced productivity in the workplace, and to economic development in the United States.
“The rotary phone alone is mind-blowing to today’s 21st-century learner who was born when FaceTime and wireless phones are the norms,” she said.
Her deep passion for history led her to become a teacher of AP (Advanced Placement) European history in addition to teaching U.S. History classes. In that process, she attained what she considers to be her most significant achievement as a teacher of the humanities thus far.
“By participating in the AP with WE Service program, I have been able to provide concrete, real-world experiences for my students by taking them into our community as they developed service-learning projects targeted to support education and alleviate poverty,” said Salinas.
As part of the program, she and her students collected over $2,500 in donations to purchase four Little Free Libraries and hosted a book drive that brought in over 500 new and slightly used books. Her class also organized fundraising events and received donations to purchase school supplies and backpacks for ten students at their local elementary.
“Seeing my students become leaders both in and outside of the classroom has brought me great joy,” said Salinas. “Long after our projects have ended, my students continue to donate their time and efforts to students in low-income areas. In building these relationships and providing my students with opportunities to learn and grow as a leader, I feel I have accomplished the greatest gift of all.”
Founded in 1973, Humanities Texas is a nonprofit, educational organization that is advancing education throughout the state through programs that improve the quality of classroom teaching, support libraries and museums, and create opportunities for lifelong learning.