An engineering teacher at Desert Vista High School is changing minds and the quality of life not only in the Valley, but around the world.
What Dan Zavaleta teaches is hard to define. It says engineering next to his name in the yearbook. A quick glance at all the gadgets and trinkets around his classroom would tell you that the same thing but the influence of "Mr. Z," as his students call him, goes well beyond the confines of the school building.
"Dan is an amazing teacher... puts in probably 15 or 16 hours a day during the school year and very often Saturday mornings find him right back here at the school," Zavaleta's friend, Rose Rumney said.
Tyler Adamson, the Robotics Team Captain, was front and center as Zavaleta guided his students to a victory in the national underwater robotics competition.
The team had to build functioning cameras, microphones and lighting for an underwater mission.
Zavaleta often pays for the spare parts himself but their efforts literally paid off when the Desert Vista team ended up beating everyone including the squad from ASU.
And during the summers, Zavaleta and his partners travel all over the globe. They have outfitted third world schools in Fiji with solar powered lighting and helped purify water at similar schools in Mexico.
His students helped design many of those same projects that are now making a difference around the world.
"You got to get them enthused," Zavaleta said. "Once they're enthused, it doesn't matter what - they are going to go find out what they need to find out, whatever interests them. You just got to get them started and once they're started, they're good to go."
Copyright 2012 CBS 5 (Meredith Corporation). All rights reserved.
Two adventurous kayakers in Argentina experienced the thrill of a lifetime following an encounter with a pod of massive whales. The video was taken somewhere off the coast of Puerto Madryn, Argentina.More >
Two adventurous kayakers in Argentina experienced the thrill of a lifetime following an encounter with a pod of massive whales.More >
BRADENTON BEACH, FL (WFLX) - People are outraged after a Florida couple was caught having sex on a public beach Sunday afternoon in front of dozens of people including children. Bradenton Beach policeMore >
People are outraged after a Florida couple was caught having sex on a public beach Sunday afternoon in front of dozens of people including children.More >
Thursday, July 24 2014 4:19 PM EDT2014-07-24 20:19:30 GMT
The Eastville volunteer fire department confirms a tornado touched down at a campground on the Chesapeake Bay on Thursday morning, killing three people. The volunteer fire department confirms three peopleMore >
A New Jersey couple was identified as the victims of a tornado that hit the Cherrystone Family Camping & RV Resort in Northampton. More >
Tuesday, July 22 2014 7:14 PM EDT2014-07-22 23:14:19 GMT
It's not often that a spreadsheet goes viral on the Internet, but that's exactly what happened after one man starting keeping data on his... relations... with his wife. The spreadsheet was posted on RedditMore >
It's not often that a spreadsheet goes viral on the Internet, but that's exactly what happened after one man starting keeping data on his... relations... with his wife.More >
Thursday, July 24 2014 2:35 AM EDT2014-07-24 06:35:51 GMT
The U.S. Supreme Court cleared the way for Arizona to carry out its third execution in the past year Wednesday following a closely watched First Amendment fight over the secrecy surrounding lethal injection drugs.More >
A condemned Arizona inmate gasped for more than an hour and a half during his execution Wednesday before he died in an episode sure to add to the scrutiny surrounding the death penalty in the U.S.More >
A Malaysia Airlines passenger plane carrying 295 people was shot down over eastern Ukraine. Both the government and pro-Russia separatists fighting in the region denied any responsibility.More >
A Malaysia Airlines passenger plane carrying 295 people was shot down over eastern Ukraine on Thursday, and both the government and the pro-Russia separatists fighting in the region denied any responsibility for downing the aircraft.More >