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Jahana Hayes Went From Teen Mom to Being Named, The 2016 National Teacher of the Year by The White House


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May 23, 2016

If there is one thing to learn from this incredible story it is: "your past does not determine your future, only you do!"

Let's get to it. 

Jahana Hayes made headlines earlier this month in May when she was named the 2016 National Teacher of the Year by the White House and received a 'crystal apple' award by President Barack Obama himself. 

Hayes made the top of the list amongst all other educators in the nation due to her willpower to never give up on herself and despite all odds, Jahana gracefully found balance to even it all out. Jahana Hayes is a teacher at John F. Kennedy High School in Waterbury, Connecticut and already invested eleven years into instilling education, and guiding the youths at Waterbury. Although, the road was not easy for Hayes who became a teenage mother at 16 and falling into the cracks of her environment and stereotype statisctics, Jahana found her pot of gold at the end of the road. 

"Our teacher of the year here stands as proof that we can't set expectations high enough for our kids," Obama expressed. "There's magic in those kids. We just have to find it. We have to unleash it."

Oh yes! Jahana indeed got that Black Girl Magic going on, you go girl! 2 snaps!! But lets get back to the article,

Jahana Hayes was raised in the public housing projects of Berkeley Heights, by a drug addicted mother who at one point lost her aparment and left them homeless. As tough as it was, Jahana took the lessons from her experiences and applied it towards her goals and dreams. As a teacher, Hayes elaborated seeing herself in some of her students and making that connection with them through her own life lessons to keep going. 

"I see myself in every one of those students and I carry my own experiences as a reminder that as a teacher I have to be better."

 Keeping the 360 circle of life circulating and paying it forward from the investment of the teachers that believed in her and motivated her to magnify her dreams, Hayes went to college to become a teacher herself and went above and beyond as an archetype of the embodiment of the American Dream. 

Overwhelmed with joy, excitement and a mix of emotions, Jahana Hayes accepted her honorary from the White House.

"Teaching is about special moments," she indicated during her speech. "As amazing as today is, it's just one of many incredible moments I've shared with my students over the years."

Jahana thanked President Obama and his committed efforts towards education. Obama conveyed about his enjoyment in hosting the nation's top educators event and revealed his desires of wanting his daughters (Sasha and Malia) to pursue careers in teaching. He went on to disclose working with his adminstration to raise the salaries and wages for teachers, develop traning in STEM for all teachers, making it more accessible and easier for all classrooms to have wifi; and giving teachers enough space to creatively teach and help students with their creativity. 

"We do have to do better in too many of our schools," President Obama suggested. "We need more teachers like this and all of you. We've got to make the profession more attractive. We do have to have accountability in the classroom … we've got to come up with measures that are meaningful."

Jahana Hayes asserting President Obama's application in raising the status quo for teachers, made this comment below during her own speech.

"We must lead the charge and change the dialogue surrounding conversations about this profession."

As the 2016 National Teacher of the Year, Hayes will be traveling all across the nation for a year in representing educators and also, an advocate for teachers worldwide. 


 Photos Provided by: Getty Images