Ms. Cervantez wins NHS Teacher of the Year and has a thing for “Legally Blonde”

Staff picture of Ms. Cevantez

Staff picture of Ms. Cevantez

Jadyn Oates, Staff Writer

Sammie Cervantez has been brightening student’s lives for 24 years. She dreamed of being a teacher long before then, though. As a child, she had a chaotic home life and school was a safe space for her. She says she has “always wanted to recreate that for students who don’t have it.” The school was the one place where she felt safe and she says she thinks that’s why she’s so passionate about what she does. “It’s about making those connections and making students feel like they’re loved somewhere,” she said.

She feels honored to have won teacher of the year. As her student, I can confirm that she spends every minute in the classroom with a smile on her face and a positive attitude. She works ridiculously hard to help give us the safe space and education that we need. She says what means the most to her about winning teacher of the year is that “only your colleagues can vote, so it’s really other teachers recognizing your efforts. Something about it is just different when it’s your peers.”

Here are the 10 things Mrs. Cervantez couldn’t live without:


  1. Legally blonde

Mrs. Cervantez’s favorite movie is Legally Blonde. “I love that it portrays a strong female character who overcomes the obstacles society throws her way.” She says that “Any cosmo girl would know” is the best line ever.

  1. Summer

She enjoys summer. “It’s a slower pace and gives us more opportunities to be outside and relax! Normally every summer I travel with my best friend and her husband to a new place. Last summer we spent a week on a private catamaran around the Virgin Islands,” she said.

  1. The beach (any place tropical)

“I love the sound of the waves and the feel of your toes in the sand. I love to see kids giggling and screaming and splashing in the water,” she said. Her favorite beach is far from home though: “I think my favorite beach has been Grand Turks in the Caribbean. I loved it because the water was warm and clear. Not like here!”

  1. Friday night facetimes

“Every Friday night I facetime my friend Kim who lives out of the state,” she said. They’ve been best friends since junior high. “We started the facetime tradition during quarantine. It’s been really nice to connect with her weekly since we haven’t been able to see each other or travel together,” she explained.

  1. Grandkids

She has six grandkids. “Our youngest is 3, and our oldest is turning 15. There are 5 boys and 1 girl,” she said. When they’re together, they “swim in their pool, bake cupcakes, color, and watch movies. They live about 2 and a half hours away, so I see them about once a month.”

  1. Tim McGraw

She excitedly says, “I’ve literally seen him in concert like 15 times. There are too many good songs to choose from but my favorite is probably ‘Don’t Take the Girl’. My favorite concert was the brothers of the sun tour in Angel’s stadium with Kenny Chesney. It was probably like 8 years ago I went with one of my other best friends.”

  1. Netflix

“I really like watching new shows, I just finished Ginny and Georgia, Firefly Lane too. The series I can watch over and over and over and over again is the Vampire Diaries.” (She’s team Damon — don’t worry, I checked)

  1. The first day of school

“I think it’s such an exciting time in student’s lives especially freshman and seniors,” she says. “I love the excitement in the air and seeing my former students after the summer. It’s a fresh start for everyone and I love the energy.”

  1. Mexican Food

“It’s deliciousness.”

  1. The Virgin Islands

“It is so beautiful. I’ve been there twice. Once on a cruise, and two summers ago we did that catamaran trip. The snorkeling is amazing. I was paddle boarding and there was a dolphin right next to me! Kenny Chesney’s mansion is on this cliff that we passed a few times,” she said.