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Medina Named a “Most Inspirational Teacher”

February 1, 2013 08:50 AM
Hillside, IL...Diana Medina has spent her entire teaching career at Proviso West High School, and during that time she has become well liked by her students.

The respect of her students was formalized for the social studies teacher in late November when she received notification that she had been named a "most inspiring teacher" by one of her former students who now attends Western Illinois University in Macomb.

"An incoming student in an anonymous survey nominated you as an inspirational teacher," said the certificate that Ms. Medina received from the office of Jack Thomas, president of Western Illinois University. She also received a plaque in recognition of the award.

Ms. Medina, who also is the head varsity boys volleyball coach and junior varsity girls volleyball coach, said that she did not know at first who had nominated her. She has been at Proviso West since the 2004-2005 school year, teaching social studies and coaching volleyball. She is also the sponsor of Unidos at the school.

"I have students who will write about me (in surveys)," she said. "Honestly, I didn’t know."

On Monday, January 7, she found out that the student who nominated her was Darious Jones, who had played volleyball for Medina before graduating from Proviso West High in 2012 and who is now a freshman at Western Illinois University.

Dr. Roudell Kirkwood, principal at Proviso West High School, said Ms. Medina has worked hard in reaching out to her students.

"It’s a testimony to her relationship building with her students that she influences and how she has impacted them in their lives," he said.

Ms. Medina said that she was proud of the honor, which continues the tradition of teachers in District 209 affecting students in a positive way.

"Being remembered as an inspirational teacher gives a lot of meaning to my job," Ms. Medina said. "It is like having won the lottery because I made an impact in a special way in that student's life, and that will never end. I always tell them that whatever you do in life, whether it is good or bad, will echo in eternity forever. Money doesn't last forever, but good thoughts of people will."

Dr. Nettie Collins-Hart, superintendent, said that as a former teacher, she can attest to the fact that it makes you feel especially humbled when students remember you even after they have left.

"For this student to bother to nominate her speaks volumes about the kind of teacher she is," Dr. Collins-Hart said. "The fact that one of her former students, having already moved on to college, considers her to be inspirational enough to nominate her shows the impact a teacher can have."


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