There are many firsts in Alfonso Salais, Jr.'s Spanish program at Everett High School. He created the state's first and only high school mariachi ensemble, an award-winning, ethnically diverse group that travels around the country promoting Spanish and Latino culture through music. And his students often win first place in Central Michigan University's Foreign Language Day Competition, for everything from original Spanish-language skits and songs to interpretive readings of Spanish poetry. Bringing high enthusiasm and energy to his teaching of Spanish, Mr. Salais is advisor of the Spanish Club, for which he has organized and implemented educational and cultural trips to Chicago, Mexico and Spain. Under his tutelage, the Advanced Placement Spanish program has grown from only two students to 14, with many of these students entering college Spanish classes at the junior level. An effective communicator, Mr. Salais is a motivational speaker for the Cesar Chavez Commission and was selected to speak to the U.S. Congress as a representative of Michigan State University's Upward Bound program. With a waiting list to get into his classes, it's obvious that students are clamoring to be first in line to be taught by this first-rate educator.