Presbyterians Today

NOV-DEC 2018

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SERVANTS 14 NOVEMBER/DECEMBER 2018 | Pr e s by te r i a n s To d ay P resbyterian Mandy Manning, in Spokane, Washington, admits she's "a little tired" of the attention she's received this year as National Teacher of the Year, but it's also been a welcome opportunity for her to share her students' stories. Manning was awarded the title in April by the Council of Chief School State Officers. The honor was first awarded in 1952 and continues as the oldest, most prestigious national honor that focuses public attention on excellence in teaching. As the 2018 National Teacher of the Year, Manning was honored at the White House for her work with immigrant and refugee students. After the ceremony, Manning handed President Donald Trump letters written by her refugee and immigrant students. They wanted him to know their stories — and how happy they were, as future citizens, to be a part of the Ferris High School community, Spokane and nation. As new immigrant and refugee students, they spend their first semester with Manning in an all-day English language program. As she works with her students on the foundations of English, Manning makes sure they feel comfortable, welcomed and loved. "If they know we are happy they're here — that they matter — they gain confidence to be successful, productive members of our school community," she said. Every day when the immigrant and refugee students come into her classroom, Manning sees their immense potential — and the hope they represent, not just for them- selves but also for society. "There's so much happiness in the classroom," she said. "As they gain confidence, each person begins to believe they can do anything." Manning says, though, that she doesn't do this work alone. She gives credit to her local congregation, Bethany Presbyterian Church in Spokane, for giving her the hope she needs to serve these children through the congregation's will- ingness to show love to her, to her students and to their families. Recently, a former student from Uganda became homeless. After bouncing around various Teacher of the Year uses honor to advocate President Trump gets refugee students' letters BY PAUL SEEBECK Mandy Manning was named 2018's National Teacher of the Year. Manning has used the recognition to get her immigrant and refugee students' stories heard. COURTESY OF MANDY MANNING

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