Head of the Class
2012 Teacher of the Year Rebecca Mieliwocki is honored at the White House
On a normal weekday, Rebecca Mieliwocki teaches seventh-grade English at Luther Burbank Middle School in Burbank, California. But last Tuesday was no ordinary weekday. Mieliwocki was in Washington, D.C., to be honored as the 2012 National Teacher of the Year.
During a ceremony at the White House, President Barack Obama praised Mieliwocki for her commitment to her students and to education. He also lauded (commended) her for setting high expectations for her class and for herself.
“Rebecca is the definition of above and beyond,” the President said. “When kids finish a year in Rebecca’s class, they’re better readers and writers than when they started. But even more than that, they know how important they are. And they understand how bright their futures can be. And they know that if they work at it, there’s no limit to what they can achieve.”
Every year, each state chooses a Teacher of the Year. One of these 50 outstanding teachers is then named National Teacher of the Year. These nominees are exceptionally dedicated professionals whose work has changed the lives of their students.
The day before the formal announcement, Jill Biden, wife of Vice President Joe Biden, honored all 50 nominees at a reception in the nation’s capital.
Mieliwocki found out she would be named the National Teacher of the Year during this reception. Once word made it back to her students and fellow teachers in California, there was a great deal of cheering at Luther Burbank Middle School.
“I got a lot of texts and e-mails from other teachers saying there was a lot of whooping and hollering at the school when the kids found out I was named National Teacher of the Year,” Mieliwocki told the Scholastic News Kids Press Corps.
Mieliwocki will finish the school year with her students in California before formally assuming National Teacher of the Year responsibilities on June 1. For the next year, Mieliwocki will travel around the country as a spokesperson for teaching and education.
“Our students are our future,” Mieliwocki said. “So we, their teachers, must do our best to inspire them and guide them to greatness.”
Hannah Prensky is a member of the Scholastic News Kids Press Corps.
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