Showing up for All Students: What Deena Piquion Wants for Her Birthday

We all have that one teacher that we remember fondly, no matter how long it’s been since we graduated from school—the one who always supported and believed in our abilities to improve and inspired us to reach our full potential. We probably also remember teachers who didn’t always provide us with the support we needed and, at times, were even downright discouraging.

As I think back on my childhood, it’s clear how much of an impact my teachers had in shaping who I am today. A great teacher has the potential to make a huge difference in a student’s life—not only in terms of academic success but also with respect to the kind of person, and potentially leader, they grow up to be.

Unfortunately, the U.S. is currently facing a teacher shortage. According to an NEA union poll, 55% of educators are considering retiring from education earlier than they had originally planned. Our future is enabled by our youth and it’s important we level the playing field for all children. Education is access and that’s why it’s important for everyone to do their part and support organizations like Teach for America, so teachers have all the resources and help they need to support the next generation, regardless of what neighborhoods they were born into.

Education: The Great Equalizer

I truly believe that education is the one true equalizer and that every child should have access to excellent and enriching educational opportunities. My own story is a testimony to the power of education in transforming lives for the better.

Born to Haitian parents who immigrated to the US because they wanted to have the best opportunities possible, I am well aware of how fortunate I am. My parents even worked hard to ensure that we moved to one of the best public school zip codes in Long Island, NY.

Thanks to their hard work and sacrifice, I was able to go on to receive the highest degree in my family at that time. Even though my guidance counselor in high school was unsupportive and tried to dissuade me from applying to the schools I wanted to, I still persevered. Not only did I go against the guidance counselor’s advice and apply to all the schools I wanted, but I also got accepted into all of them, proving everyone who didn’t believe in me wrong.

Though my story has a happy ending and I achieved my goals, I can’t help but look back at my younger days and wonder if I could have aspired to more if I had at least one person at school who pushed me to reach for more. For all I know, with the right kind of support and guidance, I could have been the first in my family to attend an Ivy League school.

My experience made me firmly believe in the importance of good teachers in the lives of all students, no matter their economic status. This is why I am honored and excited to announce that I have recently joined the Teach for America Miami-Dade Regional Advisory Board.

Why You Should Support Teach for America

Being a part of the Teach for America Miami-Dade Regional Advisory Board has given me the opportunity to work toward my dream of ensuring that education is equitable and accessible for all.

TFA actively looks for and nurtures equity-oriented leaders who are committed to expanding opportunities for low-income students, beginning with at least two years of teaching in a public school.

I believe that change is only possible when we all work together. So for my birthday this year, forego all presents and, instead, donate to TFA so that more teachers can be placed in Miami-Dade County.

To support the academic and personal growth of students from all backgrounds, please support my Birthday Fundraiser and donate to TFA today!

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