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Sylvia Flores

Ryder Champion

The Artesia Historical Museum and Art Center Foundation will hold our 16th Annual Living Treasures awards presentation at 2 p.m. Sunday, Oct. 15, to honor Sylvia Flores and Ryder Champion.

The Artesia Historical Museum and Art Center Foundation began the Living Treasures program in 1998 as a way to recognize members of our community who have made a difference. It’s a way for us to say “Thank You!” to those who have inspired us and made our town a better place to live.

One man and one woman are chosen by Foundation members each year and are honored with an awards ceremony and reception for their family and friends.

Sylvia Flores knew she wanted to be an educator by age 7. She taught school in Texas for several years before moving home to Artesia. Sylvia taught at Central, Yucca and Hermosa Elementary Schools before being named principal of Yucca Elementary in 1997.

During her teaching years, Sylvia was named New Mexico Teacher of the Year and received the Milken Educators Award and the Golden Apple Educators Award. Under Sylvia’s leadership as principal of Yucca, the staff /school received the Invitational Education Award, the Fidelity Award, and the National Title One Distinguished School Award.

Sylvia ended her 31-year career as New Mexico Principal of the Year in 2011. She has been known to fl y home from the East Coast with lobsters and to pull bullfrogs out of her pockets for class lessons, and once performed in a dance routine with a top hat and cane at an awards ceremony!

Ryder Champion just may be the world’s biggest Bulldog fan! He has worked as the Bulldogs’ water boy since he was 9 years old, and he attends as many local and area sports events as possible.

Ryder was born with Nine P Minus, a rare chromosomal condition, but he has never been defined by this. He is very active with the Aspire Developmental Services program and is an enthusiastic and appreciative participant in their outings.

Ryder may not realize how inspiring his example is, but those of us who know him have learned from him.

We will thank Sylvia and Ryder at 2 p.m. Sunday, Oct. 15, at the Artesia Historical Museum and Art Center, 505 W. Richardson Ave. A short presentation program will be followed by a reception — refreshments will be served, and everyone is invited! Please call 575-748-2390 for more information.