Officer Merrin would soon be reassigned to take advantage of her Spanish language skills. After her stint as a school resource officer, Stacie took a position as a Spanish language public information officer.
“Even after I left the school resource officer position, I had thought in the back of my mind that I would become a teacher in my next career,” Stacie recalls. “While I was at the school several of the teachers told me that they thought I should become a teacher and I loved working with the kids. I love that environment.”
Approaching 20 years on the force with the possibility to retire, Stacie went back to school, inspired by her desire to teach.
“I was able to go to school to get my teaching certification in those last few years before I retired,” says Stacie. “I retired right before my student teaching semester so it worked out really well.”
Stacie found a position as an ESL teacher and soon was soon leading classes filled with students who had recently arrived to America.
"I teach first-year refugee students, so many have just arrived a few months ago. I get to watch that first year of growth and it is amazing,” Stacie shares proudly.
“The kids who’ve come from refugee situations have taught me humility,” Stacie continues. “They are so happy to be in school. I’m constantly amazed by how hard they work and how much they will not give up. I recently taught a couple girls who never had been to school. They're teenagers and struggling to learn to read and write in English and they get frustrated, but they never give up.”
And despite the struggles that her students face, Stacie is optimistic for their futures.
“I feel like the refugee students may have a deeper recognition of how important their education is,” says Stacie.
“I know these kids are going to be successful and I just think ‘wow, I can't wait to see where they go in life’."
Thank you to teachers across the United States like Stacie who are helping resettled refugee students feel more welcomed in their new communities. This Teacher Appreciation Week, USA for UNHCR is inspired by all teachers, including those teaching across America and in refugee camps, who have dedicated their careers to helping refugee students. Thank you.