National Hispanic Institute awards teacher

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English teacher, Amy Alderson received the Citation of Merit award for her work with the National Hispanic Institute.

The Citation of Merit Award is an award that is given to someone for quality, or good worth. Amy Alderson felt privileged to have won the award and travel to Texas to receive it.

I felt very surprised and honored.  It is an organization that I respect very highly,” said Amy Alderson.

Being able to go to Texas to receive her award opened Alderson to an experience that not many people get to live. Alderson was able to meet other award recipients and the founder Ernesto Nieto.

“It was an amazing experience. I got to see the students working on their projects and then the top three groups presenting their projects at the final ceremony,” Alderson said.

NHI is important and means a lot to Alderson; she believes that students become better because of it.

“NHI is important because it is a way for students from all walks of life to learn how to be successful leaders in their schools, communities, and in state and federal governments.  It even brings together students from all over the world. I have seen NHI transform many students for the better.  It is a program that really works.  One of our current presidents of Latinos Stand Up went through the NHI program and I think that’s why she is president now,” Alderson said.

NHI has opened Alderson to new forms of hands on teaching that she believes will be beneficial to future students. It opens students to fun ways of learning.

“NHI’s way of teaching students is not instructional but experiential.  Students work together to solve a problem and then research and present their solutions. It involves math, reading, science, technology, social studies, etc.  I think this is the direction of the future for education.  Finland’s schools (the leading schools in the world) are already shifting to this approach to learning,” Alderson said.

NHI has helped many Latino students develop different skills that will be useful later on in life.

“NHI creates experiential educational activities for Latino students that foster leadership skills, critical thinking skills, and interpersonal skills.  It also gives the students who participate a network of friends and mentors that they can draw from in the future,” Alderson said.

Anyone can participate in NHI activities, and Alderson highly recommends that students get involved. It costs money for the family but schools, and the Kerr Foundation give scholarships, along with a webpage set up by NHI to collect donations.

“ Students can also do fundraising.  Some parents worry about letting their child stay overnight for several nights on a college campus, and I can assure them that their child is constantly supervised and safe and well taken care of.  The students themselves always love the experience and say that they have gotten so much from it,” Alderson said.

North is very grateful to have Alderson as part of the staff. Her award brings light to the hard work she puts in with NHI. Alderson is the definition of leadership and brings out the best potential of each student that is in her presence.

“She brings capable Latino students together, encourages them to apply for participation in institutes across the U.S., and celebrates the leadership growth these students gain from their participation. She understands that as these North students are equipped with skills in bargaining and negotiation within leadership contexts, their potential to change the broader community for good grows as well,” said English Department Chair Sue Nielson.

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