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Shaw teacher stays in touch with students, helps out at SSHS
by Aaron Retherford
May 08, 2013 | 4254 views | 0 0 comments | 5 5 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Tribune photo by Garrett Valenzuela -- Melissa Taveira is a teacher at Shaw Middle School and helps with athletics at Spanish Springs High School and claims she "bleeds purple" although she is a Reed High School alum.
Tribune photo by Garrett Valenzuela -- Melissa Taveira is a teacher at Shaw Middle School and helps with athletics at Spanish Springs High School and claims she "bleeds purple" although she is a Reed High School alum.
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Sometimes the press box during Spanish Springs soccer games feels a little like Fight Club. Not because grown men are violently smashing each other in the face, but from time to time, I’m sworn to secrecy.

It’s not because the conversations that I overhear are inappropriate or could get anyone in trouble. Sometimes the topic of conversations is just ridiculous and the other people in the press box like to poke fun in my direction.

Leading the teasing tends to be Melissa Taveira, a science teacher at Shaw Middle School, who also helps out at countless Spanish Springs High School athletic events. Taveira, a 1994 Reed High grad, has fully traded in the old Blue and Gold for the Purple and White.

“It’s not that I dislike my old alma mater. It’s just my heart bleeds purple,” Taveira said. “I have to support my students up there.”

Taveira gets two years with her middle school students, and she says that helps foster long-term relationships with them.

That’s evident by seeing how many former students will come up and talk to her during the games she works.

“I get to really know my kids on a different level, not just as students. I get to know them more personally, and I enjoy that. I get to know their little quirks and their golden carrots, what makes them do the best job they can,” Taveira said. “You’ve seen it up in the press box. I get to keep up with their lives. You get to be a part of their lives, which is nice.

“I’ve been told by several former students and students right now that I’m relatable to these kids. I understand them probably a little better than some of the other teachers do, which to me I like that compliment. I want all my kids to feel confident coming to talk to me.”

Taveira earned her degree in Elementary Education with a minor in Special Education from the University of Nevada, Reno in 2001. She has been teaching since 2002.

Since 2005, Taveira’s other major role at Spanish Springs has been as a game manager for SSHS athletic director Art Anderson — or as Taveira likes to call it — being a “mini Art.”

Taveira has several duties such as making sure the officials are taken care of, parents aren’t getting out of hand and the kids are playing up to their potential.

“I get all the fun stuff. He (Art) gets all the non-fun stuff,” she said.

One of the fun things she gets to do is run the clock during football games.

“I’ve learned so much about that sport that I never knew about,” Taveira said. “I have to give kudos to Doug Parry and Ben Hofmann because they opened my eyes to a whole other part of football that I never would have experienced if I wasn’t working in the press box all the time.”

Taveira’s mother also works games at SSHS as one of the money handlers at the gate, so that gives Taveira an extra bonus for helping out as a game manager.

“I enjoy it. I haven’t lived at home for awhile, so it’s kind of my way to catch up with my mom and dad,” Taveira said. “It’s nice to have her there because we get to talk about my sisters and the family … When you don’t live with your parents, sometimes you’re not sure what is going on. This helps me keep up to date.”

In her free time, Taveira enjoys working out and participating in fun runs. She recently went to San Francisco for the Electric Run. She also likes to attend country music concerts as well as the annual events the Reno-Sparks area offers.

Taveira has lived in Sparks since she was 6, and can’t imagine it not being home.

“It’s home to me even though I was born in the Bay Area,” she said. “It’s just a smaller community out here and I like that. Everyone knows everybody. Everyone takes care of each other. When I go back to the Bay Area to visit family, I get very claustrophobic because it’s just too much down there. I like the slower pace we have here and the community we have in Sparks.”
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