A local teacher was recently selected as a recipient of a $25,000 reward.
An announcement was held on Tuesday, May 17, when Evelyn Rebollar, a ninth through twelfth grade English teacher at Bronx Arena High School, learned that she was selected as one of four teachers nationally to receive the 2016 Fishman Prize for Superlative Classroom Practice.
The announcement was shrouded in secrecy.a
A student coaxed Evelyn into the hallway feining she was ‘upset’ about something.
The student, who remained in character, then led Evelyn to the library, where she was congratulated by fellow teachers, students, family, friends and community leaders who had gathered for the announcement that she had won the prize.
She was presented the award by Liz Vidyarthi, vice president of communications at TNTP (formerly known as The New Teacher Project), an organization whose mission is to end the injustice of education inequality by providing excellent teachers to the students who need them most.
Along with cash award, Rebollar will also received a seat at the Fishman Prize Summer Residency, where she will invited to write an essay on her teaching experiences and meet with education leaders from across the country.
Rebollar was born in Washington Heights, where she spent much of her childhood, although she also lived in Long Island City, Queens and the west Bronx.
She graduated from Manhattan Village Academy and attended New York University for three and a half years before transferring to CUNY City College, where she majored, specialized and received her Bachelor’s degree in Secondary English Education.
Currently in her fifth year at Bronx Arena High School, Rebollar said she felt privileged, honored and blessed to have been selected to win the award, but also said that she will continue to strive to provide her students with the great education they deserve while becoming an even better teacher.
“It was an incredible feeling to be a recipient of this award – something I never thought I was capable of,” said Rebollar, who is also enrolled at Queens College as a graduate student studying Adolescent English Education. “I know that I have a lot more to learn as an educator, but winning this award is very reassuring that I am on the right path.”
Rebollar credited her eleventh grade English teacher, who was her mentor, for being her greatest influence and biggest motivation for choosing her profession.
“I want to do for other students what my teacher did for me,” Rebollar said. “If I didn’t have her, I wouldn’t be where I am now.”
Rebollar’s students, on average, enter her class with a grade point average of 53 out of 100 in English Language Arts, but graduate with an average GPA of 85.
In her last three years, 100 percent of her students have passed the New York State English Regents exam, and in 2015, she was featured on PBS News Hour in a report highlighting her success in the classroom.
“Evelyn’s commitment to creating an atmosphere of genuine learning and inquiry is inspiring to our entire school community,” said Ty Cesene, principal of Bronx Arena High School.
The Fishman Prize is one of the largest and most prestigious awards for practicing teachers in the country.