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For her dedication, patience, and passion for teaching, Filipino American high school educator Ethelyn Tumalad was conferred the 2022 Teacher of the Year title by the prestigious Oregon Department of Education (ODE).

Parents are highly-regarded members of society, they are honoured for raising and guiding children who would soon become the next valuable assets of the world. But behind every child's successes are teachers who care for them when they're not at home. 

One educator who is very passionate about her job is Filipino-American Ethelyn Tumalad, a first-generation Filipino American who migrated to the United States with her family when she was only five years old. 

For Tumalad's teaching prowess, she received Oregon’s 2022 Teacher of the Year title. She now joins a distinguished group of 62 other Oregonian educators who have received the award since it was first introduced in 1955,” Philippine Consul General Neil Frank R. Ferrer said.

“Ms Tumalad’s award is yet another recognition of the invaluable contribution of Filipino American teachers in shaping future generations of Americans. Her innate ability to empathically connect with her students is unmistakably Filipino—pakikipagkapwa-tao [fellowship]—and I am glad that Ms Tumalad remains deeply rooted in her Filipino heritage,” the official added.

See also: Face-to-Face Classes in the Philippines Approved in 120 Schools—Are We Ready For It?

Meanwhile, Oregon Governor Katherine “Kate” Brown praised Tumalad in a video message aired during the awarding announcement. “Inside and outside of the classroom, Ethelyn is a strong advocate, a wonderful listener, and an empathetic colleague, teacher and friend. Educators like you are the shining stars our students need,” Governor Brown said.

Guided by her own experience as a migrant educator, Tumalad serves as the advisor for the Asian Pacific Islander (API) Student Union at Clackamas High School. She also co-leads her school’s Black, Indigenous, People of Color (BIPOC) staff affinity group.

“I’ve seen the importance of having positive role models of colour; therefore, it is important that students themselves see their advisors work together to build bridges among each other’s marginalized identities. As an educator who always wants to ensure that students become change agents in the classroom, I lead my students with empathy and truly believe that modelling is the best form of education,” Tumalad said, expressing gratitude. 

As Oregon’s Teacher of the Year, Tumalad received a $10,000 [more or less PHP500,000] cash reward from the Oregon Lottery and Clackamas High School, and a year-long professional development and networking with other outstanding educators across the United States under the Chief Council of State School Officer’s National Teacher of the Year program. 

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