Cecilee Echols wins Yale Educator Award


Autumn Laine Hoskins, Editor-in-Chief

Former Coronado student and current Yale sophomore, Brian Lin nominated Mathematics and UIL teacher, Cecilee Echols in September 2017 for the Yale Educator Award.

Yearly, incoming freshman at Yale nominate a teacher for the Yale Educator Award who had been instrumental in their educational success.

“We, students, often forget the extent of the required commitment of both time and energy of teachers. We take, but we also must remember to give back,”  Lin said. “Given the opportunity to nominate a teacher for the Yale Educator Award was, in my opinion, a perfect time to express my gratitude for Mrs. Echols – my UIL Math Coach, statistics teacher, calculus teacher, and frankly, one of my main life mentors throughout high school.”

Lin’s essay on Echols’s impression on him and commitment in the classroom won her the Yale Educator Award. First impressions are important, but lifelong impressions mean the most.

“I did not necessarily think of Mrs. Echols’ academic influence first because she has impacted me in many areas outside the classroom,” Lin said. “From giving social advice, advice about family, and even advice about life after high school, Mrs. Echols’ impression will forever be close to my heart.”

Giving back is more important than people think. Just a simple act of kindness and appreciation goes a long ways.

“I urge students at Coronado to give back to their teachers in some way – it can be as small as writing them a quick note of appreciation – it means a lot,” Lin said.

Awards are not needed to prove one’s worth. Sometimes it is evident before recognition. Principal Dr. Jerry Adams knows how to recognize superiority before it is pointed out.

“I was very proud for Mrs. Echols and I was excited that Brian Lin thought so much of his experience, not only in her class, but at Coronado,” Adams said. “I think Mrs. Echols is an all star. I mean you talk about the excellence about being the best at what you do and that’s what she is. I knew that before and I know that now. So, this award is just validation for the great work she provides. “

One act of kindness can go a long way. It can be validation for one who may not have known the difference they were making before; one like Echols. 

“I was a little emotional, but super excited when I had found out that I won. I had never won an award for teaching before,” Echols said. “It is especially very special to win an award because a student nominated you. That is why we do what we do, is for our students. I felt like I was truly making a difference.”

Lin’s act of kindness and appreciation gave Echols validation she will never forget and forever be grateful for.

“This award means that it is affirmation that I am in the right career, that I am doing the right thing,” Echols said. “It is recognition and just a moment of realizing that all the extra work that goes in–the extra hours on the weekends, the coming up to school, the time spent at UIL meets, the time spent before and after school, the time spent away from my family, for my job and to take care of my students– it’s all worth it.”