I apologize in advance, for the content of this post is not about strategies or methods to support your English language learners. This post is to brag on two wonderful opportunities I had these past two months.
Those of you who read my blog posts know that I generally post about the wonderfulness happening in my classroom, and/or ways to support your students. This time, however, is all about two big events that happened in my life and want to share with my readers.
People: Human Interest
Amy Eskind, a reporter for People magazine was getting her hair done by my sister Gabriela Barahona who works at Vanity Salon in Houston, TX when the conversation about me began. My sister shared with Ms. Eskind my story and she was very curious to learn more. She contacted me and we had several conversations about my past, my educational experiences, and what I currently do at Irvin Elementary with students and families.
Ms. Eskind thought that my story could potentially be featured on People.com. I couldn't believe it when she emailed me to let me know that my story was accepted and featured in the Human Interest section. I was more surprised when they contacted me for a Skype interview to go along with the article.
The article is amazing! I love how Ms. Eskind focused on the struggles I faced to get to the USA and the huddles I went through to complete school. I also LOVE how she highlights all the wonderfulness happening at Irvin elementary with our students and families.
On the day the article was released, a producer from Top 30 contacted me wanting to also feature my story as well. This is the awesome video they created to feature the story.
Ellen Degeneres Show
YES, you read the title correctly! I made it to THE ELLEN DEGNERES SHOW! Yay!
I cannot find the words to describe what I felt when I received an email from Ellen Degeneres producers! At first, I thought maybe it wasn't real. I did a little research to see if the person contacted me was really who he said he was! It felt so real when we interview through Skype and we started the conversation on featuring my story on the show!
Right after our Skype conversation with the producers, everything was so fast. In a matter of a couple of days, I was traveling to California! I knew my story was going to be featured somehow, someday on the show but... I NEVER thought I was going to be called on stage by THE Ellen Degeneres!!!!! Actually, let me rephrase that...she didn't call me on stage...I RAN when she started saying my name and talking about me! I feel so bad but I was SO excited when I heard her saying: "There's someone in the audience I want to meet. Emily Francis ..."
Not only was I super excited to be on stage and on national TV, but little did I know that my school, including students, parents, and staff were all gathered to surprise me!! My heart was raising so fast and I lost it!! My 4th grade student David said a few kind words about me that made me cry!!
But...that's not all...Ellen calls on stage Hamdy Ulukaya - founder and CEO of Chobani.
What a pleasant surprise to learn that Mr. Ulukaya and I have so much in common! We immigrated to the USA the same year - and his story of perseverance and persistence is admirable! After he shared his story, I was surprised with the biggest check I have ever seen in my life - Mr. Ulukaya donated $100,000 to our school's backpack program! WOW!!
I am beyond grateful for this opportunity and unforgettable experience. What I learned through all of this is that no matter how small our story and success might seem, it is important to share it with the world. There might just be someone out there waiting to learn our story of courage and persistence!
I am also grateful to Irvin elementary school staff, students, parents, and admin for all their support. They showed me how much they care for me and for that I will always be grateful!
Press Appearances and Mentions:
Cabarrus Magazine: A Cabarrus County Schools' Teacher Recently Featured in National Magazine
Independent Tribune: CCS Teacher Featured in National Magazine
Independent Tribune: Concord ESL Teacher to be Featured on Ellen
Independent Tribune: Irvin Receives $100,000 Donation from Chobani
Fox 46 Charlotte; #GoodDayCharlotte: Charlotte Area Teacher Surprised with $100K from Chobani on Ellen
Thank you for reading!