The Yale University’s Office of Undergraduate Admissions recognized Rene Molina, an English Language Arts teacher at IDEA College Preparatory McAllen, as a recipient of the 2020 Yale Educator Award.
Aimed at recognizing outstanding educators around the world, the Yale Educator Recognition Program honors the unique, critical role exceptional educators play in shaping their students’ futures by encouraging them to pursue their goals.
In order to be nominated, the institution asked students entering the Yale Class of 2024 to nominate educators who impacted their lives.
IDEA McAllen Class of 2020 alumna Alexa Pulido, who is a current Yale student, nominated Molina.
“I did not like English literature. It was extremely difficult for me because English is not my first language,” Pulido said in the release. “I resented literature classes because I didn’t understand the deeper meaning behind what we were reading. However, in Mr. Molina’s class, we read novels from around the world, many from authors of color, and he had a way of showing us the greater context of these stories.
“It was the first time I enjoyed reading and I read more that year than any prior year in my life,” she said.
According to the release, each nomination is individually reviewed by a committee of Yale admission officers. This year, there were 317 nominees from 41 states and 19 counties. Only 57 teachers and 24 counselors received the award.
“I feel incredibly humbled and honored to be nominated,” Molina said in the release. “Knowing Alexa nominated me makes it that much more special because she is the kind of student, we all want to see succeed. She is perseverance personified.”
In addition to notifying the administrators of their respective high schools, winners were sent engraved desk sets and congratulatory letters.
“I have always viewed education as the great equalizer,” Molina said. “If teachers could give students, the tools necessary to compete in today’s world, then we have done our job. I teach empathy and civil discourse in my classroom because I think it is one of the greatest lessons we can impart to the next generation. I believe a truly educated mind is one driven by a kind heart.”