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2003 Graduate Torres Wins ‘Oscar’ of Educator Awards

Superintendent of Education Molly Spearman congratulates Vanessa Torres (right).

Furman University Spanish and sociology graduate (2003) Vanessa Torres was surprised Dec. 6 with a Milken Educator Award, one of about three dozen prizes granted across the nation. The K-5 Spanish teacher at Nursery Road Elementary (Irmo, S.C.) was lauded for her creativity in diverse classrooms at the high-performing Title I school. The fourth Furman graduate to receive the honor, Torres is known for immersing students in the language with storytelling, skits, games, songs, salsa dancing, and peso point prize raffles—all conducted entirely in Spanish.

Torres' daughter Sophia is among the K-5 students attending Nursery Road Elementary.
Torres’ daughter Sophia (left) is among the K-5 students attending Nursery Road Elementary.

The State covered the announcement of the award, which recognizes early- to mid-career educators for excellence with a $25,000 prize. Additional information about Torres’ philosophy and her community service contributions may be found on the Milken Educator Awards website.

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