May 2016

Waterbury Teacher Prepares to Take on the Nation

Meet Jahana Hayes who will represent you as National Teacher of the Year

Look out America! Teacher Jahana Hayes now has a national platform to advocate for students and teachers, as well as raise public awareness about the value of community service.

Hayes was named National Teacher of the Year last week and was honored by President Barack Obama at the White House on National Teacher Day on May 3, during National Teacher Appreciation Week.

At a special program at her school on April 29, replete with dignitaries from across the state, J.F. Kennedy High School students exploded in celebration shouting, "We love you, Mrs. Hayes!" She replied, "I love you more!"

Hayes asked students, "Imagine, just for a second, if every kid in every school in every state felt how you feel right now. If every student had pride of ownership in his or her community."

Senior Makyle Hawk told his fellow students that Hayes being named National Teacher of the Year signifies the start of change long overdue. "Mrs. Hayes is sacrificing a year away from the things she loves the most to provide a voice for communities who have, for so long, been underrepresented."

"I am in awe of the fact that people have no idea what happens in this building and even less of an idea what happens in this city," Hayes said. "They're going to learn today about who we are and what we do."

"Taking on this role of National Teacher of the Year, Mrs. Hayes represents herself, her family, her students, her school, and Waterbury. She carries us all on her back," Hawk said. "In a way, she's like the Greek Titan, Atlas, holding the weight of the world on her shoulders. But the world she bears is our world, and it's the world of those in communities like ours, facing situations and issues that mirror our own."

Read more about the 2016 National Teacher of the Year Jahana Hayes

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