Samuel Costa, teacher and principal of Rural School No. 29 in Lunarejo, Rivera, is the winner of the 2021 ReachingU Prize for Uruguayan Teachers. Samuel is to receive USD 5,000, which will go to the “Telelunarejo” Project.
At the event, the work of the other four finalist teachers was also recognized:
• Noralí Cicao,Mercedes School No. 1
• Pamela Pérez, Pan de Azúcar High School
• Yéssica Rodríguez, School No. 97, Rocha
• Hugo Valanzano, School No. 193, Montevideo
The ceremony, which was broadcast live online, was attended by the President of CODICEN, Dr. Robert Silva, who announced the teacher elected.
A horizon-expanding project
Rural School No. 29 in Lunarejo has only 8 students. Not only is Samuel their teacher and principal, but also their cook and cleaner, as they have no assistants.
When Samuel started working at this school, he realized that because of its small size and remoteness, the children had communication issues, and there was even a lack of trust. Thus came the idea of creating a project that would give them identity and strengthen communication.
That gave rise to “TeleLunarejo”, a YouTube channel, where children open the school’s doors to the community and expand their borders beyond the Lunarejo Valley. Thanks to this project, Samuel Costa was chosen by the Jury as the winner of the 2021 ReachingU Prize for Uruguayan Teachers.
What led the Jury to choose Samuel?
The five finalists were evaluated by a Jury that included Gonzalo Baroni, Director of Education of the Ministry of Education and Culture; Patricia Viera, President of the Education Training Council; Martín Rebour, Training Manager of Plan Ceibal; Zelmira May, National Expert for the Education Program UNESCO Regional Bureau for Science; and Marcelo Pérez Alfaro, Lead Education Specialist at the Inter-American Development Bank.
The Jury specifically highlighted the way Samuel links his practice with context and his high expectations of his students, together with his commitment and the way he conveys the enjoyment he gets from teaching. They all agreed that Samuel has very inspiring characteristics that are typically shared by teachers who dream of and build better futures for children.
The Jury believed in Samuel’s present, but also in his future, recognizing the potential that teachers like him have when given tools and professional opportunities.
They also highlighted how his project and action transmit the honesty of someone committed to work, who offers their students all the futures they may wish to dream of, but at the same time presents them with real opportunities, because not only does he give them a dream: he also works to help them achieve it.