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Gila Ridge teacher awarded $5,000 grant by Arizona Diamondbacks

Kuzniak holding check A Gila Ridge High School teacher was recently selected as the winner of a $5,000 grant from the Arizona Diamondbacks.

Career & Technical Education (CTE) Film and TV Production teacher James Kuzniak was named as the recipient of the D-backs School Challenge presented by the University of Phoenix.

Kuzniak submitted his application and grant proposal titled “Sports Content Creators in the Making” with the hopes of helping create industry-level experiences for his students in the fields of television production, social media management, and content creation. His students have already started to gain this experience as his class, along with San Luis High School’s Film and TV Production classes, livestreamed weekly YUHSD Games of the Week for both football and volleyball.

“While this has been a unique and challenging year for many, we saw this pandemic as a unique opportunity as a class to gain valuable experience,” Kuzniak said. “All the credit goes to my students who put in countless hours of hard work and dedication to learning and perfecting their craft. This grant will allow us to continue pushing forward in the best learning environment possible with top-of-the-line industry level equipment.”

Kuzniak, who is also the boys golf and baseball coach at Gila Ridge, has worked at the school since the 2014-15 school year and is a graduate of Cibola High School. Since the start of the 2018-19 school year, the Diamondbacks have awarded YUHSD teachers and coaches, including Kuzniak, more than $17,000 in grant funding.

“Our D-backs family, alongside our partners at University of Phoenix, worked diligently to review applications and identify outstanding projects and programs. We are inspired by your creativity and dedication to your students,” said Diamondbacks Director of Business Operations and Community Giving Tara Trzinski, “You are improving lives of others at a time when families and children need it most. We recognize that these are difficult times and our local schools are dealing with challenges when it comes to raising necessary funds”.

Eric Patten