US Teacher of the Year stages silent protest as Trump awards prize

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The 18-year teaching veteran had just delivered a speech at the White House when she found herself with a few private moments with Trump. Manning said the president accepted the letters and directed his staff to put them on his desk where he could read them later.

This year's National Teacher of the Year victor is putting her students first. She handed him the letters in a manila folder titled "Dear Mr. President" and a return address.

It seems like Mandy's been thinking about giving Trump her students' letters for quite a while.

During the ceremony, she also engaged in several silent but powerful forms of protest.

Manning, who was standing on stage during the president's remarks, said she "noticed immediately" that he had omitted mentioning that she teaches newly-arrived refugee and immigrant students.

"She uses experiential projects like map-making to help her students process trauma, celebrate their home countries and culture, and learn about their new community", the organization said. Others told the story of their journey to America, expressed thankfulness for making it to the US and shared their dreams and ambitions.

U.S. President Donald Trump, center, speaks as Betsy DeVos, U.S. secretary of education, Mandy Manning, Alexander Acosta, U.S. labor secretary, and Josephine Olsen, director of the Peace Corps., listen during the National Teacher of the Year reception in the White House.

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The National Teacher of the Year, who teaches English and math to newly-arrived refugee and immigrant students at a high school in Washington state, hand-delivered letters from her immigrant and refugee students to President Donald Trump before a White House event in her honor on Wednesday.

Manning will spend the next year traveling across the world to advocate on behalf of teachers, according to the Council of Chief State School Officers, which runs the award program and praised Manning's "fierce belief in her students, unwavering commitment to their learning, and demonstrated efforts to ensure that they can be successful both in school and in life".

Manning also wore six political pins, according to The Guardian, on her black dress, which were clearly sending a message. There was one for trans rights, a rainbow apple for gay rights, one for immigrant students another for the Peace Corps.

"My main message was to share the successes of my students and to show that my students are just like those here in the USA, that they have dreams and want to be productive members of society", Manning said.

"Those pins were specifically for my students to see that I was there for them", she said. "They are enough and that they matter".

None of this was evident during Wednesday's ceremony, because the White House in an odd move blocked the press from covering her speech at the event. "She has encountered situations where she has been told to go back to Africa".

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