Claudia Delgadillo, a first grade teacher at Claremont Immersion School, and Lilliana Maldonado-Mendez, a Spanish teacher at Washington-Lee High School, were honored Thursday night with the Victoria D. de Sanchez Hispanic Teacher of the Year Award from the Hispanic Youth Foundation of Northern Virginia. Each received a check for $2,000 and a commemorative plaque at a reception at the home of Marymount University President Matthew D. Shank.
They were both so inspiring that we decided to give two awards, said Dr. Ana Lado, a Marymount professor of education who serves on the award committee. Both women go so far beyond their job descriptions and a make a huge difference in the lives of their students.
After immigrating from Bolivia as a teenager, Delgadillo spent a year in D.C. before moving to Arlington and attending local schools. She worked to put herself through Northern Virginia Community College and George Mason University, where she earned a bachelors degree in English and Spanish. She also did graduate work there in multilingual/multicultural education and earned a masters degree in Spanish language and culture from the University of Salamanca in Spain.
My own educational experience as an immigrant student has shaped my desire to advocate for the education of immigrant children, the Arlington resident said. I feel inspired by my students because I know they do not take their education for granted.
In thanking the Hispanic Youth Foundation, Delgadillo said winning the award was an inspiration to continue along the path she is on, noting that Hispanic educators often have to work extra hard to prove theyre as good as their peers.
Maldonado-Mendez was born and raised in Puerto Rico, where she graduated from the Catholic University of Puerto Rico with a bachelor’s degree in business administration. She married and moved to New York, where she earned a masters degree in foreign language education from Syracuse University. She has taught Spanish in a variety of capacities in Arlington Public Schools since 1995.
She was inspired to pursue her career by an aunt in Puerto Rico who was a teacher, principal and superintendent.
When I retire, I want to look back with the satisfaction of having helped my students learn and appreciate the Spanish language and the variety of cultures it represents, the Sterling resident said. But above all, I want my students to know that I cared for them and their well-being, and that I taught them with love.
Maldonado-Mendez said winning the award was an honor, yet humbling, because she knows so many other educators also deserve to be recognized.
The award is given by the Victoria D. de Sanchez Endowment at Marymount University in order to recognize and encourage teachers who have demonstrated exemplary results working with area Hispanic students. The endowment was established by the Hispanic Youth Foundation of Northern Virginia, which was created by a group of Hispanic business owners.
This years awards were presented by the granddaughter of their namesake, Victoria Sanchez, who earned her bachelors and masters degrees in interior design from Marymount. Her grandmother, Victoria D. de Sanchez, was a leader in establishing schools, training teachers, and developing textbooks and curricula across Latin America. She also was active in the Reading is Fundamental and Head Start programs in the United States.
Lilliana Maldonado-Mendez (left), a Spanish teacher at Washington-Lee High School, and Claudia Delgadillo, a first grade teacher at Claremont Immersion School, were honored Thursday night with the Victoria D. de Sanchez Northern Virginia Hispanic Teacher of the Year Award.
Claudia Delgadillo is shown with Victoria Sanchez, who presented commemorative plaques to the winners of the award named after her grandmother.
Lilliana Maldonado-Mendez accepts a cash award and plaque in recognition of her exemplary impact on the lives of her students.
From left, Marymount University President Matthew D. Shank, Victoria Sanchez, and Mike Sierra, one of the Hispanic Youth Foundations founders