2016 National Teacher of the Year Jahana Hayes on the Red Carpet with 2017 Daniel Trust Scholars. Photo: Olivier Kpognon
Inspirational, thoughtful, and uplifting are three words that guests used to describe the Daniel Trust Foundation and it's exactly what many felt after attending the Daniel Trust Awards on Friday, June 2, 2017. Marking its fourth annual awards dinner in Bridgeport, the Daniel Trust Foundation reached another milestone when it announced that it had raised over $60,000 from event ticket sales and sponsors and is awarding $20,500 in scholarships to 29 returning and 12 new college scholars in the Foundation's Scholarship Program this year.
2016 National Teacher of The Year Jahana Hayes on the Red Carpet with the 2017 Kathy Silver Awards winners. Photo: Olivier Kpognon
Students, however, weren't the only honorees receiving awards at the event but teachers too. At the night's ceremony 12 teachers, selected by the Daniel Trust Scholars themselves, were given an achievement award and a $250 honorarium as part of the Foundation's Teacher Recognition Program. In the three years leading up to this 4th annual Awards Ceremony, the Foundation has awarded $11,000 to 35 educators in Connecticut, Georgia and New York with the honorarium. This tradition of honoring teachers for their supportive role in their student's lives has been a longstanding program of the Daniel Trust Foundation, a program the Foundation's Founder and CEO, Daniel Trust, began a few years ago to recognize amazing teachers that go above and beyond for their students, just as his High School teacher Kathy Silver did for him while attending Bassick High School in Bridgeport, Connecticut. Kathy Silver was also present at the 4th Annual Daniel Trust Awards.
Jahana Hayes is presented with the Kathy Silver Award by Daniel Trust. Photo: Djess Jacques
Also joining the night's event was another amazing teacher who without a doubt goes above and beyond the call of duty, Jahana Hayes. As the 2016 National Teacher of The Year and the night's special guest, Jahana Hayes gave an inspiring speech about her journey growing up as a poor student in Waterbury, CT, to becoming the 2016 National Teacher of the Year with honorary acclaim from celebrities like Ellen DeGeneres and President Barack Obama. But her climb to the top of the education system was not without struggle and it was not without the help and support of others either. In her speech, Ms. Hayes spoke on the challenges she faced climbing out of poverty while facing an early pregnancy and reminded the audience that every obstacle presents an opportunity to learn. Before closing her speech Jahana stated with much humility that "I am where I am today because of people like Mr. Trust, people in my community who stepped in and stood in intercession for me."
2017 Daniel Trust Scholars present Daniel Trust a gift as a token of their appreciation. Photo: Olivier Kpognon
Moments after Jahana’s heartfelt speech, the Foundation’s scholarship recipients altogether walked up on to the stage and surprised Daniel with a gift, handing him a bouquet of flowers and a certificate as they thanked him for his hard work and generosity. The gesture brought forth a standing ovation from the audience and also brought Daniel to tear as he kindly accepted his scholars gift. By the end of the night's ceremony, the Foundation had reached another milestone when 12 donors pledged $2,000 to sponsor the 12 new Daniel Trust Scholars. For the Foundation, the new pledges is a huge development, one that will certainly help it take a bigger step forward in its mission to help low-income students meet their college expenses while also recognizing exceptional teachers in the community.
Guests give Daniel Trust and his scholars a standing ovation at the 4th Annual Daniel Trust Awards. Photo: Olivier Kpognon
The Daniel Trust Foundation is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization. The Foundation invests in and supports low-income students with their educational and professional goals, and honors teachers who are making a difference in the lives of their students and communities in which they teach. The Foundation accomplishes its mission through 3-targeted programs towards the needs of the community. These programs are: (1) a mentoring program for high school juniors and seniors, (2) a college scholarship program for graduates of the mentoring program and (3) a teacher recognition program. To learn more about the Foundation, please click here.