The United States Teacher of the Year has shared the compassionate speech she claims Donald Trump wouldn’t let her read in front of the press at her own award ceremony.
The 2018 best teacher winner Mandy Manning was silent at the ceremony, but wore six politically-themed badges on her dress, as Trump presented her with the award.
She also didn’t shake the president’s hand.
Claiming she wasn’t allowed to read the speech at the time, yesterday she instead read an excerpt to CNN’s Van Jones.
The teacher said she promised her pupils she would use her audience with the president to present him with a stack of letters from members of the Spokane, Washington community where she works, and the refugee children she teaches.
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Manning told how she and her family had their photograph with the president during the ceremony last week, before she took the opportunity to present him with the letters.
She said she told Trump: " ‘It’s really important that you read them’ — and he did.
"He took them so graciously, he thanked me and said he looked forward to it and had them put on his desk."
According to her award application, Manning teaches English and maths to refugee and immigrant students in the Newcomer Center at Ferris High School in Spokane.
The application says she is her pupils’ first teacher once they arrive in the US, and she uses projects like map-making to help the young refugees process their trauma, celebrate where they are from, and learn about their new home.
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She instead read aloud an excerpt of her speech on Jones’ show, referencing refugee and LGBT issues.
In the speech she said: "Over the next year, I will be sharing my students’ stories and profound insights into our country throughout the nation — like Sultan’s — a refugee from Syria, who escaped war in his country and understands the importance of the United States to be peacemakers.
"I am here for refugee and immigrant students for the kids in the Gay-Straight Alliance, and for all the girls I’ve coached over the years, to send them the message that they are wanted, they are loved, they are enough, and they matter.
"Go out today: seek an experience you have never had before, get uncomfortable, challenge your own perceptions to find clarity.
"Be fearless, be kind, meet someone new."
Manning teaches children from Syria, Chuuk, Iraq, Afghanistan, Guatemala, Myanmar, Sudan, Mexico, and Tanzania, according to her award application.
She has also worked in the Peace Corps in Armenia, and has taught around the US and in Japan.
According to political news website The Hill , the president said Manning played a vital role in children’s wellbeing and the success of the nation.
“Her incredible devotion has earned her the adoration — total adoration, actually — and respect of students and colleagues throughout her school district, community and the entire state,” he reportedly said of the schoolteacher.
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