This teacher's silent protest of Trump contains a message for all of us.

When Mandy Manning went to the White House to accept the 2018 National Teacher of the Year award, she brought along a message for the president.

Manning, a teacher at Joel E. Ferris High School in Spokane, Washington, met with President Trump to receive the prestigious award in the East Room of the White House on May 2.

Her work as an English teacher at the school's Newcomer Center, focuses on helping new refugee and immigrant students get up to speed and integrated into the classroom.


It's noble work, and pretty much the antithesis of what Trump, who has railed against refugees and immigrants, stands for. Yet unlike artists who boycotted the Kennedy Center Honors due to disagreements with his positions, Manning attended the event — and made sure to take advantage of her moment with the president.

Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images.

Manning was perfectly polite during the ceremony and the brief moments she had to speak with Trump, but her outfit spoke volumes.

Manning wore a number of pins on her dress during the ceremony. Some, like the National Teacher of the Year, National Education Association, and Peace Corps pins, were pretty standard. Others, like her Women's March, rainbow flag, and "trans equality now" pins sent a bold message to an administration that's devoted time to gutting protections for trans students and attacking Title IX.

Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images.

The most important message, however, was the one she handed Trump: a stack of letters from her students and her local community.

"I just had a very, very brief moment so I made it clear that the students that I teach ... are dedicated and focused," Manning told the Associated Press. "They make the United States the beautiful place that it is."

In a video recorded for the Council of Chief State School Officers, the organization behind the National Teacher of the Year, Manning went into more detail about what she does, why she cares so much for her students, and what she hopes Trump and the rest of America can see in them.

"All of the students who walk through my classroom door have three things in common," she says in the video:

"1) They are just learning English, 2) they have escaped trauma and are building new lives in our nation, and 3) they are determined and focused to be productive citizens of our United States. Most importantly, they succeed."

She wants her students to feel like they are wanted, like they are loved, like they are enough, and like they matter. It's the same basic goal we should have for all students in all schools around the country. In fact, it should be a goal for how we treat anyone, of any age.

People like Manning and her students make America a great place, and we could all learn a thing or two from their example.

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Courtesy of Macy's

In many ways, 18-year-old Idaho native, Hank Cazier, is like any other teenager you've met. He loves chocolate, pop music, and playing games with his family. He has lofty dreams of modeling for a major clothing company one day. But one thing that sets him apart may also jeopardize his future is his recent battle against a brain tumor.

Cazier was diagnosed in 2015. When he had surgery to remove the tumor, he received trauma to his brain and lost some of his motor functionality. He's been in physical, occupational, and speech therapy ever since. The experience impacted Cazier's confidence and self-esteem, so he's been looking for a way to build himself back up again.

"I wanted to do something that helped me look forward to the future," he says.

Enter Make-A-Wish, a nonprofit organization that grants wishes for children battling critical illnesses, providing them a chance to make the impossible possible. The organization partnered with Macy's to raise awareness and help make those wishes a reality. The hope is that the "wish effect" will improve their quality of life and empower them with the strength they need to overcome these illnesses and look towards the future. That was a particularly big deal for Cazier, who had been feeling like so many of his wishes weren't going to be possible because of his critical illness.

"In the beginning, it was hard to accept that it would be improbable for me to accomplish my previous goals because my illness took away so many of my physical abilities," says Cazier. His wish of becoming a model also seemed out of reach.

But Macy's and Make-A-Wish didn't see it like that. Once they learned about Cazier's wish, they knew he had to make it come true by inviting him to be part of the magical Macy's holiday shoot in New York.

Courtesy of Macy's

Make-A-Wish can't fulfill children's wishes without the generosity of donors and partners like Macy's. In fact, since 2003, Macy's has given more than $122 million to Make-A-Wish and impacted the lives of more than 2.9 million people.

Cazier's wish experience was beyond what he could've imagined, and it filled him with so much joy and confidence. "It is like waking up and discovering that you have super powers. It feels amazing!" he exclaims.

One of the best parts about the day for him was the kindness everyone who helped make it happen showed him.

"The employees of Macy's and Make-A-Wish made me feel welcome, warm, and cared for," he says. "I am truly grateful that even though they were busy doing their jobs, they were able to show kindness and compassion towards me in all of the little details."

He also got to spend part of the shoot outdoors, which, as someone who loves climbing, hiking, and scuba-diving but has trouble doing those activities now, was very welcome.

Courtesy of Macy's

Overall, Cazier feels he grew a lot during his modeling wish and is now emboldened to work towards a better quality of life. "I want to acquire skills that help me continue to improve in these circumstances," he says.

You can change the lives of more kids like Cazier just by writing a letter to Santa and dropping it in the big red letterbox at Macy's (you can also write and submit one online). For every letter received before Dec. 24, 2019, Macy's will donate $1 to Make-A-Wish, up to $1 million. By writing a letter to Santa, you can help a child replace fear with confidence, sadness with joy, and anxiety with hope.

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