Junior Bernadin, Ron Clark Academy dean of students, IT director and house system expert, received the Presidential Award for Excellence in STEM. (Photo courtesy of Ron Clark Academy)

NEW YORK — As Junior Bernadin sat with his students last month in a classroom at the Ron Clark Academy in Atlanta, confetti suddenly rained down on him. Seconds later, he watched as his name flashed on television during a National Science Foundation broadcast announcing the country’s presidential award winners for the year.

“It was surreal, sitting there with my students in the classroom as they were watching the virtual honor and announcement,” Bernadin says. “When they said that this was the highest honor you can receive in STEM mentoring in the nation, I thought to myself, ‘Oh, my god.’”

Bernadin was awarded a Presidential Award for Excellence in Science, Mathematics and Engineering Mentoring (PAESMEM). Awardees have been told to stay tuned regarding official invitations to the White House due to COVID restrictions.  

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Larisa is a reporter for The Haitian Times covering politics, elections and education primarily. A graduate of the Craig Newmark Graduate School of Journalism at CUNY, she has interned at CNBC and the Balkan Investigative Reporting Network. She is also a recipient of a 2021 DBEI Fellowship by Investigative Reporters & Editors. Larisa can be reached by email at larisa@haitiantimes.com or on Twitter @larisakarr.