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May 02, 2016 06:19 AM EDT

After Teenage Pregnancy In CT, Jahana Hayes Becomes America's Teacher Of The Year [VIDEO]

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Jahana Hayes, an acclaimed Waterbury educator spent 12 years teaching social studies in her teaching assignments but extended service for being counselor, confidant and protector to her students.

After the announcement, she believes America is now her new classroom. The 43-year old Wolcott resident will be working to elevate the profession and to attract students to it by preserving that pipeline with people who want to become teachers. She will also work to engage and keep more minority teachers in the demographic of professions, Fox News reported.

The annual selection is facilitated by the Council of Chief State School Officers in Washington, D.C. Representatives from 15 national education organizations formed a selection committee which conducted series of screenings where Hayes emerged as the fittest contender to become National Teacher of the Year for 2016. Last Thursday, "CBS This Morning" announced the winner while students at her school in Waterbury watch for her.

She inspires her students to believe in their capacity to change the world. The opportunity gives Hayes the platform and opportunity to share her gifts, passion and talent with students and educators across the nation, Education Commissioner Dianna Wentzell said.

For Waterbury Superintendent Kathleen M. Ouellette, Hayes is the epitome of the American dream. Her stories are extremely well said, grew up in the harshest area in Waterbury. Her first-hand story of urban life in early childhood depended on her community (her molding place) and teachers (her life coaches) to direct her into the route of giving back to her roots.

On Teenage Pregnancies

While growing up as a curious girl in the Berkeley Heights public housing project, her own experiences as a student opened her eyes. She was mothered by a drug addict and had lost an apartment at one point molded her vision to help out her students that might be encountering the same tough situation by establishing strong bonds with them.

Her resilience would have been a fruition of her personal struggles in that past that she had overcame. Having big dreams for herself, Hayes ended up pregnant just like her mom who got pregnant with her at 17.

She came to a point where she gave up and accepted the fact that it is where she was going to end up and her life was going to be the same as her mother's.

But one day, some years after her graduation in high school, she completely woke up thinking that her current life then could not be hers. So to try at least, Hayes enrolled in a community college.

She rears students

She started losing interest to continue but a guidance counselor from her high school kept visiting her at home and checked on her all the time. This helped her stay on her course.

This has been her inspiration for her brand of education. The life lessons she had led inspired to create a method that goes beyond the usual classroom setting by exerting extra effort to understand the needs of the students.

Her own life experiences have helped shape Hayes' teaching style, an approach that goes beyond typical classroom actions as she really tries to make connections with her students. For her, it is the most important thing because "students don't learn from people they don't like," she said.

For winning as the teacher of the year, Hayes will spend a year of paid sabbatical leave from Waterbury, representation of educators around the nation and advocate causes on behalf of teachers.

Send her your appreciation at comment box below after watching this video:

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