Rene Molina, an International Baccalaureate (IB) English Language Arts teacher at IDEA College Preparatory McAllen, has been recognized by the Yale University’s Office of Undergraduate Admissions as a recipient of the 2020 Yale Educator Award.
The Yale Educator Recognition Program recognizes outstanding educators from around the world who support and inspire their students to perform at high levels and to achieve excellence. The award is meant to honor the unique and critical role that exceptional educators play in shaping their students’ futures by encouraging them to pursue their goals.
Students entering the Yale Class of 2024 were asked to nominate outstanding educators who have deeply impacted their lives and Molina was nominated by IDEA McAllen Class of 2020 alumna and current Yale University student Alexa Pulido.
“I did not like English literature. It was extremely difficult for me because English is not my first language,” says Pulido, who is currently in her first year at Yale. “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.”
“The world needs more teachers like Mr. Molina,” she continues. “He finds ways to reach every student and challenges them to see the world from different perspectives. I am a better student for having been in his class.”
Each nomination is individually reviewed by a committee of Yale admissions officers who then select each recipient. Of this year’s 317 nominees, who represent 41 states and 19 countries, 57 teachers and 24 counselors were selected to receive the award.
Winners were sent engraved desk sets and congratulatory letters, and administrators of their respective high schools were also notified of the achievement.
“I feel incredibly humbled and honored to be nominated,” says Molina. “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.”
“I have always viewed education as the great equalizer,” he continues. “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.”
Yale is a top research university with a unique emphasis on undergraduate liberal arts education. All 6,000 undergraduate students enrolled in Yale College, which offers more than 80 majors and hundreds of opportunities to conduct groundbreaking research. Undergraduates at Yale come from all 50 states and more than 70 foreign countries. More than 17% of Yale students will be the first in their families to complete a four-year degree, and 47% are U.S. Citizens or Permanent Residents who identify as members of a minority group.
The Yale Admissions Office attributes the exceptional quality of the Yale student body to educators like Molina and the recipients of the 2020 Yale Educator Award, who help shape students long before they attend Yale. Yale University is proud to thank these and all educators for their ongoing efforts in motivating and supporting their students.