Vanessa Torres is a passionate advocate for teaching foreign language to elementary school children. She says research proves that early education in foreign languages improves deductive reasoning skills, memory, self esteem and more. Her enthusiasm in the Spanish classes she teaches is contagious, says her principal, Love Ligons. And her fellow teachers and students’ parents are not the only ones who have noticed.
Torres was the recent winner of the prestigious Milken Award, a national honor for excellence in education that comes with a $25,000 prize. But Torres, who has no idea who nominated her and was taken by complete surprise when presented with the award, remains both humble about her work and devotedly focused on the benefits her kids derive from learning a second language.