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Teacher and Students Earn Honors

4/23/2014, 11:37 a.m.
(from left to right) Michelle Nicola, Enat Arega, Melaku Arega

De La Salle North Catholic High School teacher Michelle Nicola is a finalist for an award in teaching tolerance. The Southern Poverty Law Center project, “Teaching Tolerance” gives out its Award for Excellence in Teaching annually.

Nicola, Spanish teacher and Heritage Club Coordinator at De La Salle, says tolerance is something she strives for in her classroom, “Obviously I want my students to learn Spanish but if I can also teach them to be kinder, more open-minded and open-hearted people, then I know I’m doing my job.”

The George Fox University grad says in a multiculturally-mixed school like De La Salle, respect for diversity and tolerance are key components of the school community, something she strives to reinforce in her classes.

Everything from lessons in the guise of soap operas and dance parties to lessons set up to engage the student’s individual interest, Nicola is committed to her pupils.

“It is truly an honor to be nominated for something I feel so passionately about, social justice,” she says.

De La Salle also announced that student Enat Arega has been chosen as the winner of a prestigious Horatio Alger National Scholarship, based on her determination to persevere and achieve despite innumerable adversities.

Arega volunteers at Multnomah County Library Summer Reading Program and Multnomah County Library Youth Council and is involved in many school and community activities. Along with two of her siblings, she moved to the U.S. from Ethiopia five years ago, learning English only after she immigrated here.

In addition, Miss Enat’s brother, Melaku Arega, a freshman at Johns Hopkins University, has been accepted into a study abroad research program next year at Oxford University. He was one of five students chosen.