Celebrating the Three National Winners of the BigFuture Teacher Visionary Award

Honoring Teachers During National Teacher Appreciation Week

New York, NY – College Board announced the three national recipients of the BigFuture® Teacher Visionary Award, recognizing their impactful efforts to support and inspire their students to plan for life after high school. Educators bring BigFuture, a free college and career planning resource from College Board, into their classroom to help their students discover potential careers, find postsecondary educational opportunities, and explore ways to pay for their education to reach their goals. The three winners of this award were nominated by students and educators from across the country.

The winners are Jessica Sanchez from New Jersey’s Union City High School – Union City Public Schools, Mallory Melady from Florida’s Stanton College Preparatory School – Duval County Public Schools, and LuTongel Few from Georgia’s Glenn Hills High School – Richmond County School District. BigFuture surprised each teacher with the award in partnership with their school community and students.

National Teacher Appreciation Week is a time to celebrate all our teachers and their commitment to our students, and to recognize the creative ways teachers help ensure all students have the resources and support to plan for their future. 

“The best thing about BigFuture is a lot of our students come in with a preconceived idea that they want to do a career, because they heard it on the news or their parents said they should be doing it,” says Mallory Melady from Florida’s Stanton College Preparatory School. “But what I like to do is start with the BigFuture quiz that tells them what skills they are good at and with those strengths they can do these other amazing things.”

College Board’s BigFuture simplifies the path to life after high school by recommending small steps that all students—no matter their intended path—can take at just the right time to explore career interests, identify potential majors and colleges, and access financial aid and scholarships. 

“What I do is try to have the students understand that when it comes to college and career readiness, not everyone wants to go to college for four years,” said Jessica Sanchez from New Jersey’s Union City High School. “My whole goal is to have them figure out some type of life path that they want to take, whether it is four years or two years, so that when they leave here, they feel like they are confident with the skills to be successful out in the world.” 

When asked what she hopes to promote to students, LuTongel Few from Georgia’s Glenn Hills High School said, “Encouragement and motivation—if you have those two things the knowledge will come. You have to want it! I can’t give it to you! […] I always tell them that they need to know the plan, be able to work the plan, and be able to modify the plan if necessary.” 

“BigFuture is proud to recognize teachers who are committed to helping their students own their future,” said Tarlin Ray, senior vice president, BigFuture. “The award is a celebration of them and their community, and just as they are investing in their students' futures, we hope this provides support for their work. I am inspired by teachers nationwide that are lifting up learners and leaders in their classrooms.”