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President Donald Trump and Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos acknowledge Mandy Manning, a teacher at the Newcomer Center at Joel E. Ferris High School in Spokane, Wash., during the the National Teacher of the Year reception in the White House in Washington, DC, May 2, 2018.
Carolyn Kaster/AP
Education

This Is the Powerful Message the ‘National Teacher of the Year’ Shared With President Trump

"They make the United States the beautiful place that it is."

This is the private message Mandy Manning, winner of the 2018 National Teacher of the Year prize, shared with President Trump at an event honoring her work with refugees and immigrants on Wednesday, The Guardian reports.

Wearing six pins on her dress — representing everything from the Women’s March to the Peace Corps — and carrying a stack of 45 letters from refugee and immigrant students, Manning spoke with Trump privately after the event organized by the Council of Chief States School Officers (CCSSO). 

Take Action: Call on World Leaders to Fund Another Year of Education Cannot Wait

“I just had a very, very brief moment [with the President] so I made it clear that the students that I teach...are dedicated and focused,” Manning said after winning the prestigious award. 

She also delivered the stack of letters to the President and encouraged him to read through them. 

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Manning, who works at Joel E. Ferris High School in Spokane, Washington, teaches English to immigrants and refugees, using creative methods such as mapmaking to help students process trauma. She has been teaching for nearly two decades, according to a CCSSO press release

Read More: A Teacher Who Speaks 35 Languages Just Won a $1 Million Teaching Prize

The award will allow her to spend the next year traveling across the country and around the world to speak with and learn from fellow teachers, according to the press release. 

“This year I hope to engage the nation in a conversation about how we can encourage students to experience things outside of their understanding,” Manning said. “When we move out of our comfort zones, visit new places, listen to others’ thoughts, and share our own opinions, we become compassionate and open.”

“This is the first step in creating a more hopeful, safer, and kinder society where everyone can be productive, global citizens,” she added. 

Read More: Millions of Children In Emergencies Are Denied an Education. But That Can Change.

Her work with refugees is much needed. Worldwide, refugees are five times less likely than other students to be out-of-school, according to UNHCR — and more than 3 million refugee children are currently not getting an education

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Global Citizen campaigns on the Global Goals for Sustainable Development, and access to quality education is goal number four. You can join us and call on world leaders to fund education through the Education Cannot Wait fund here

But for Manning, the most important thing is that her students’ stories are heard. 

"My goal is to share my students’ stories," Manning told CNN, "[and] to send a message — to not only my immigrant and refugee students but the LGBT community — that they are wanted, they are loved, they are enough and they matter."