Launched in 2019 as an initiative of the Lead with Languages Scholarship Fund, the Lead with Languages Teacher Scholarship Program provides merit-based funding to graduating high school seniors committed to pursuing the language teaching profession in languages other than English. Scholars receive an annual award of $1,500 per academic year, renewable to a cumulative total of $6,000 per recipient, as well as complimentary ACTFL membership throughout their participation in the program and for one year upon graduation and entry into the field.
Meet the Scholars
Hailing from nine home states and planning to teach six languages—including ASL, Ancient Greek, French, German, Latin, and Spanish—ten outstanding students join the program in 2022, forming the fourth class of Lead with Languages Teacher Scholars.
The language educators who wrote letters of support to recommend these students describe passionate and determined individuals who above all demonstrate kindness and empathy toward their peers.
Collectively, these ten students represent school language club leaders and founders, dedicated volunteers, deeply engaged members of their local communities, and Seal of Biliteracy recipients. Additionally, they have honed their teaching skills in early field experiences as classroom assistants, student teachers, camp counselors, mentors, and tutors.
When asked about their motivations to join the profession, the Scholars point to a desire to honor the impact of their language teachers, celebrate and share their heritage with others, support young people on pathways of discovery, and provide their own curiosity about the world with an environment in which to grow and thrive.
In their words:
“I want to help others discover what it is about language that makes me so excited, and the space in which to do that is the classroom. I’ve been very involved with my school’s language program, not only as a student in multiple languages, but as an advocate for change.”
“Because of the talented teachers who supported me, I have been inspired to pursue a career in education. […] Teaching enables me to be a life-long learner and to shape the future change-makers of the world. I understand that entering the field of education is not without its challenges, but being an educator is a rewarding career that will fulfill me, and my commitment to learning languages is vital to who I am.”
“Spending time with my grandmother and helping her translate made me realize that I could help others understand a new language and culture. Spanish class is where I have learned a lot about my own culture and first language. […] I want to be able to teach others the beauty of knowing another language and learning new cultures along the way.”
“All teachers who have entered my life have left a mark on my story. They are the most important pieces of my puzzle. I developed the same love of seeing children grow as my educators had. I had seen the difference a teacher can make in a child’s life because of how they’ve changed mine.”
“My personal experience has made me painfully aware that many people do not have access to the same advantages or an education. […] I will use my education in a career teaching Spanish to share my heritage and to help make my world a more inclusive place for all people.”
Congratulations to the 2022 Class of Lead with Languages Teacher Scholars!
Abigail, Nebraska – Spanish
Andrea, Washington – French
Brittany, Texas – ASL, Spanish
Gianna, Massachusetts – Spanish
Kaza, Delaware – Spanish
Leonardo, Illinois – Spanish
Nicholai, Ohio – German, Spanish
Serafin, Michigan – Spanish
Tomás, California – Spanish, French, Latin, Ancient Greek
Zoe, Ohio – Spanish
Sincere thanks to all applicants who expressed interest during the 2022 submission period, as well as the dynamic group of language educators who carefully reviewed applications to select our recipients. We thank 2022 Selection Committee chair Ted Zarrow and members Michele Back, Jacquelyn Burch, Miguel Da Corte, Catherine Ousselin, Joanne Veliz, and Angello Villarreal 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 2023?
Visit our Teacher Scholarship Program page to learn more about this program, and stay tuned @LangConnectsFdn for news about the Scholars as well as the call for applications in 2023.