Obama honors Connecticut woman as Teacher of the Year

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Jahana Hayes (L), awarded the 2016 National Teacher of the Year, reacts as U.S. President Barack Obama delivers remarks during a ceremony at the White House in Washington, D.C. Photo by Carlos Barria/Reuters

Jahana Hayes (L), awarded the 2016 National Teacher of the Year, reacts as U.S. President Barack Obama delivers remarks during a ceremony at the White House in Washington, D.C. Photo by Carlos Barria/Reuters

WASHINGTON — President Barack Obama is honoring as National Teacher of the Year a Connecticut woman who has demonstrated through her own life that students can overcome obstacles.

Obama says high school teacher Jahana Hayes’ enthusiasm makes her a natural talent in the classroom.

The 44-year-old history teacher grew up in a Waterbury housing project and became a mother while in high school. She says the influence of her own teachers taught her that a school’s job sometimes overlaps with the job of parents. She says she wants her students to know there are no dead ends.

Obama says Hayes is more than a teacher; she’s also a counselor, confidante and mentor to high school students in Waterbury.

Hayes teaches at John F. Kennedy High School in Waterbury.

Video by PBS NewsHour

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