SPARKS. Nev. (KOLO) - It's a big honor for a local teacher. Dr. Tunde Csepelyi has received the TESOL (Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages) and National Geographic Learning 2019 TESOL Teacher of the Year award.
Dr. Csepelyi got her teaching degree in Hungary 27 years ago. When she came to the US a few years later, she knew she wanted to become an educator, but she didn't speak English She made it her goal to teach in the US, and despite a number of obstacles, including some potential employers saying her accent was too strong for her to become a teacher, she achieved her plan. She started teaching in the Reno area in 2001. She has been at Sparks High School since 2016.
Now, after receiving this national award, she says she is overwhelmed and hopes to continue to inspire others.
"If you want a career that you believe that you can change lives every single day, that's teaching. And that keeps me in the teaching field. I believe I am changing lives every day," she says.
Her students agree.
"Mrs. Csepelyi is a great teacher," says France Celzo. "If you have a problem, you can always go to her, and she helps you out in any way, basically."
As for how winning this award will affect her now in the classroom...
"She feels now she has to work even harder," says Kevin Carroll, Sparks High School Principal. "And she works extremely hard anyway, so I don't know how that's going to look, but that's just how she is. She just strives for excellence and does what's best for our students here."
Dr. Csepelyi says getting this award makes everything she went through to make it this far worth it. And there's a lesson there for her students.
"One thing that I want my students to learn from me: resiliency. That they should never ever give up. Never ever," she says.