Congressman Hastings honored the accomplishments and contributions of Ms. Anthonette Peña by giving the following speech on November 17, 2009.

Madam Speaker, I rise today to honor an outstanding educator and devoted mentor, Ms. Anthonette Peña.  Anthonette teaches eighth grade science at Howell L. Watkins Middle School in Palm Beach Gardens, FL and is indeed among Florida’s best and brightest.  A standout among her colleagues with a passion for teaching and shaping educational policy, Anthonette has earned an esteemed Albert Einstein Distinguished Educator Fellowship for a second year in a row.

I welcome Anthonette to Washington and am certain that her time at the office of the Division of Research on Learning in Formal and Informal Settings at the National Science Foundation (NSF) will be an enriching learning experience for all involved.  Anthonette hopes to use this fellowship year to raise awareness about the importance of community organizations and government in motivating students to excel in science and mathematics.  I laud her commitment to creating more scholarships for students of under-served populations so they, too, may benefit from science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) opportunities.

In her home state of Florida, Anthonette is very active in her local community.  In addition to securing several grants for science related programs, she also dedicates her time as a mentor for beginning teachers.  Anthonette believes that employing cross-curricular lessons is key to developing well-rounded, critical thinkers.  When she organized her school’s first Girl Scout troop, she   not only incorporated STEM activities, but brought learning opportunities from inside the classroom into the community.

Anthonette has worked hard to earn this distinction, and exemplifies the possibilities that a good education offers.  She earned her B.A. in Liberal Studies at California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo and her M.S. in Education at Nova Southeastern University.  Recognizing the importance of a well-balanced education in today’s ever-shrinking world, Anthonette also studied abroad at The University of Valladolid in Spain, while also participating in the Japan Fulbright Memorial Fund Teacher program and the Toyota International Teacher Program in Costa Rica.

Madam Speaker, I truly appreciate the work that Anthonette Peña and Florida’s teachers do every single day in preparing our nation’s leaders of tomorrow.  She has long demonstrated excellence and dedication to teaching worthy of the Albert Einstein Distinguished Educator Fellowship, and I congratulate her double on this achievement

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