Secondary education alumna receives award from WMU Athletics

Contact: Chris Hybels

Sarah Giramia, center, was presented the award by WMU Athletics.

KALAMAZOO, Mich.—Sarah Giramia, a graduate of Western Michigan University's secondary education program, received the Extra Yard for Teachers Award on Sept. 19. Presented by WMU Athletics and the College Football Playoff (CFP) Foundation, the $1,000 award will be used to purchase school supplies.

Athletes and cheerleaders from WMU surprised Giramia, an English teacher at Linden Grove Middle School, during a staged pep rally. At the rally, she was handed the award by Julian Jones, senior associate athletic director for Broncos Empowered and Championship Culture.

"They told me there was a pep rally to encourage the students for eighth grade," says Giramia. "When I walked in I was very surprised."

In partnership with higher education institutions, the CFP Foundation provides support to teachers through its Extra Yard for Teachers platform. The award is just one of the ways the non-profit organization recognizes educators across the country.

"We had a conversation with the president of Future Teachers of Color who recommended Ms. Sarah Giramia for her amazing work with the youth at her school and how important literacy was for them. In addition we were able to read her honors thesis addressing the lack of diversity in education and how to solve it, which we thought was great. She is also a recent graduate of WMU, which helped us in making that decision," says Jones.

Giramia was a co-founder and officer of the registered student organization (RSO) Future Teachers of Color, when she was as a student at WMU. She says the continued mission of the organization is to create a support system where future educators of color can have easy access to the best support that applies to them. The RSO is still active and continues the mission of supporting Western students in their journey.


This program offers a unique opportunity to earn both a teaching certification for grades 6-12 and a master’s degree within a cohort, 13-month program. Using dynamic and relevant curriculum with a focus on culturally responsive instruction, full-time faculty model learner-centered instructional practices. Candidates experience learning in a supportive cohort community of learners. A full year internship provides candidates with extensive personalized support from mentor teachers as well as program faculty. Secondary education candidates can enter this program through two main pipelines: WMU pre-education undergraduate content degree with an education focus, or with a content degree from WMU or an outside accredited institution. To learn more, visit the teaching secondary education program webpage.


The mission of Future Teachers of Color is to bring together future educators of color at WMU with a focus on various topics related to career preparation, academic success, mentorship, community service outreach and networking skills. For more information about the RSO, follow them on Instagram.

For more WMU news, arts and events, visit WMU News online.