Helping refugees learn English first drew
High School Teacher of the Year to profession

High School Teacher of the Year Kelsey Rosales.

It was while earning her degree in ethnic studies and Spanish from Cornell College in Iowa that DHS teacher Kelsey Rosales first realized she wanted to be an educator.

“In college, I had the opportunity to tutor adult refugees who were trying to learn English. I loved the experience and my students,” Rosales said. “It gave me a sense of purpose and connection to be able to meet people where they were at, assist them, and help them accomplish a skill that was life-changing.

“We learned about each other´s cultures, traditions and countries while learning a language together. That is still what I love most about teaching language: building bridges through language and culture.”

Rosales grew up in Minnesota near the mouth of the Mississippi River but has lived near that river’s end since moving to Louisiana in 2006. She met her husband while on vacation in New Orleans in 2005.

“I am a non-native Spanish speaker and started learning Spanish in 10th grade, just like my students,” she said. “My husband is originally from Honduras and we improved our language skills together.”

Kelsey Rosales with her son, Alessandro, and her husband, Jose.

Rosales first got into teaching after a friend encouraged her to get her teaching certification during the post-Katrina teacher shortage. Rosales has now taught Spanish for 15 years, but has added a major accolade to her resume – that of St. Charles Parish Public Schools High School Teacher of the Year.

“What a blessing and an honor to represent St. Charles Parish Public Schools because they have given me so much in my career and have shaped me into the teacher I am today,” she said.

After being named the High School Teacher of the Year, Rosales has felt so much love and support from the community.

“The kind words, congratulations and excitement from former and current students, colleagues, and even my own teachers make me tear up,” she said. “I have had so much support in my life and career that has led me to where I am now.  SCPPS has been so good to me. I am going to keep pushing forward to give back to the community that has given so much to me.”

While her recent awardmeans that Rosales is making a huge impact on her students, she says they enrich her lives as well.

“Every day we laugh, enjoy each other and support each other. I need them in my life just like they need me in their lives,” she aid. “I am a seed planter. I get to hang out with young people every day and help them figure out who they are and who they want to be. I tell my students what they are good at, what they have talents in, and what they are capable of doing with their lives.

“What an impactful, meaningful profession.”

Rosales has spent the last six years at Destrehan High School and called St. Charles Parish Public Schools “the best of the best.” She credited the school system with providing support, training and assistance to its teachers and staff.

“I get to collaborate as a team with my colleagues so we can do our best for our students and keep improving,” she said. “I am supported in trying new initiatives and given opportunities to lead outside the classroom. At DHS, I have the best administrative team who is there to guide me and aid me. My students desire to learn, are prepared and supported academically, and are offered amazing opportunities to maximize their future opportunities.”