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2019 Class of Teacher Scholars Announced

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With the United States currently facing a nearly universal shortage of language educators, the American Council on the Teaching of Foreign Languages (ACTFL) and its Lead with Languages campaign are focused on efforts to expand and bolster the pipeline of future language teachers—from sparking teacher-led classroom discussions about the profession to ACTFL’s well-established Mentoring Program for early-career teachers. The Lead with Languages Teacher Scholarship Program joins these as our latest effort to address recruitment and retention.

Meet the Inaugural Class of Lead with Languages Teacher Scholars

Launched in Spring 2019 as the first initiative of the Lead with Languages Scholarship Fund, the Teacher Scholarship Program awards merit-based funding to graduating high school seniors committed to pursuing the language teaching profession in languages other than English.

The program provides recipients with an award of $1,500 per academic year which may be renewed three times for a cumulative total of $6,000 per recipient. Upon graduation and entry into the teaching field, Lead with Languages Teacher Scholars will also receive 1-year complimentary ACTFL membership, including access to the ACTFL Mentoring Program.

The Scholars will be entering university programs this autumn with the intent to become certified language teachers.

In their words:

“Through learning about my family’s origins and having an amazing environment, my passion for languages has grown rapidly. […] Sharing my heritage with others has brought me joy and always puts a smile on my face.”

“I want my students to understand that Spanish doesn’t just come from Spain and Mexico. It is a world-wide language and because of that, the culture is incredibly diverse, and its history is rich.”

“Most importantly, I want to become a German instructor because I want to inspire and engage children the way my German teacher did for me. […] On that day that I chose to take German, I don’t know if it was by chance or fate. But whatever it was, it changed my life forever.”

“Language is about more than communication. It connects you to the world around you. Learning and teaching both connect people to each other, deepening our understandings of each other, and bringing us just a little bit closer to a just and peaceful world.”

Congratulations to the 2019 Lead with Languages Teacher Scholars:

LwL 2019 Scholars 1

Becca, Illinois – German
Carleigh, Rhode Island – Spanish
Jade, Maryland – Spanish
Lauren, Indiana (not shown) – Spanish
Lexie, New York – French

LwL 2019 Scholars 2

Madelynn, Wisconsin – Spanish
Martin, California – Russian, Arabic, or Spanish
Matthew, Pennsylvania – French
Matthew, Kentucky (not shown) – Spanish
Tristan, Michigan – Spanish

Sincere thanks to all applicants who expressed interest during the 2019 submission period, as well as the dynamic group of language educators who carefully reviewed applications to select our recipients.

We thank 2019 Selection Committee chair Rebecca Aubrey and members Julia Baumgardt, Angelica DaSilva, Laura Dennis, Rhonda Petree, Deborah Robinson, Scott Watford, and Miaochun Wei for their service and dedication to supporting future teachers.

Do you know a future language teacher who will be a high school senior in Spring 2020?

Visit our Teacher Scholarship Program page to learn more about this initiative, and stay tuned @LangConnectsFdn for news about the Scholars as well as the call for submissions in 2020.