Mandy Manning

The thing about our immigrant and refugee students is that they have this innate hopefulness.

For the past seven years, Mandy Manning has taught English to immigrants and refugees from her classroom in Spokane, Washington. She has been widely praised for her dedication and compassionate approach, and this week she was honored as National Teacher of the Year.

This alone would be enough to maker her our #Changemaker of the week.

However, it was the statement she made when receiving this award this week at the White House that really grabbed our attention. Embodying the true meaning of "deeds not words," Mandy staged a silent protest to the Trump Administration by wearing pro-immigrant and LGBTQ pins and delivering letters from her students to the President. "The thing about our immigrant and refugee students is that they have this innate hopefulness. They have gone through very, very difficult experiences, but they see coming to the United States as an opportunity. They feel that they can have dreams, and that they can potentially achieve those dreams. It's really quite beautiful, actually, because no matter what — no matter what they experience — they still have this hope, this resilience."

We couldn't have picked a better winner for this year's Teacher of the Year Award.  Thank you Ms. Manning, for inspiring your students to believe in themselves and for inspiring us to keep fighting for their ability to turn their dreams into reality.