Nominator: Leuzi Z. Cardoso
Provo High School
While this may seem a bit self-serving to nominate my own husband, I have realized over the years that I am the only one in a position to consistently see the impact he has had on his students. Like the time we were at the deli of a local grocery store and the single mother of a former student told me that Coach Cardoso had once purchased a pair of gym shoes for her son so he could participate in the P.E. Class.
Over the years the parents of all the special education students at Provo High have asked that their children be placed in Coach Cardoso’s P.E. classes. Coach Cardoso is so kind and patient with these students that many parents keep their children in his class for their entire high school years even though the child only needs one P.E. credit to graduate. One year Coach Cardoso received a pair of tickets to a very coveted Jazz game, but he did not invite a buddy, his own son or even his wife to go to the game with him. He knew that one of his special ed students loved the Jazz and Karl Malone, so Coach Cardoso took this student to the game, purchased all kinds of Jazz items for him, and then saw to it that the student was able to shake Karl Malone’s hand.
Coach Cardoso’s influence has been felt by many of his soccer players, not only as a beloved coach on the field, but as a father figure to many off the field. He has helped many young men to stay on track for graduation despite their difficult home circumstances. One year he worked with one of his immigrant players so that this particular student became the first in his family to graduate from high school. Another year Coach Cardoso found out that the family of one of his players was in a desperate situation with no food and no money for utilities. Coach Cardoso and his assistant went to their own pantries to provide a month’s worth of groceries for the family and paid the utility bill for them.
Coach Cardoso recently completed his Master’s degree in education, but when asked if he will now become a principal (which pays so much more) he says that as a principal he would not have direct contact with the students. He has chosen to “stay in the trenches” where he can work more closely with students and continue to quietly help them find success.
I could go on with so many more stories. Wherever we go we usually run into at least one of his former students or parents and I am always learning something new that even I did not know that he had done. Even when we went to Hawaii a few years ago we ran into a few of his former students!! We receive 2 or 3 wedding or missionary invitations every month from former students whose lives he so deeply affected.
So many of his acts of kindness have gone unnoticed over the years, even by me, that it seems about time that others recognize the years of hard work and dedication Coach Cardoso has given, and continues to give, to Provo High School and the Utah Valley community.