As an English resource teacher at Gaithersburg High School, Jennifer Bado-Aleman’s goal is to ensure her students are learning the skills they need to succeed in life. On Jan. 15, she had the opportunity to talk about that mission on a national level.
White House officials invited Bado-Aleman to speak at a film screening of “The Inevitable Defeat of Mister and Pete,” hosted by Michelle Obama. The event is part of the first lady’s campaign to help more young people make it to, and through, college.
“It was a really exciting opportunity,” said Bado-Aleman, a Gaithersburg resident.
Bado-Aleman was introduced by Grammy Award-winning singer and songwriter Alicia Keys, who was the movie’s executive producer and wrote the score. After giving her own remarks, the teacher introduced Obama.
The film follows the story of two adolescent boys living in the projects of Brooklyn, N.Y., who are left to fend for themselves over the summer after their mothers are taken away by the authorities.
“For me, it was important just because I think it puts a face to the stories of so many students,” Bado-Aleman said. “It helps us understand how the education issue is so complex. We need to keep pushing for college access and opportunities for all. It really sort of forces the audience to realize there’s a story we don’t know behind every student.”
The event marked another milestone for Bado-Aleman and her work on access and equity in educational opportunities.
Over the summer, Bado-Aleman wrapped up a one-year stint as a Teaching Ambassador Fellow for the U.S. Department of Education. She was one of 12 educators selected for the program from a national pool of 625 applicants.