LifeChanger of the Year Nominee Profile

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Melinda Wilson

Position: Dance Teacher
School: Curie Metro High School
School District: Chicago Public Schools
City, State: Chicago , IL

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Melinda Wilson was nominated by Jeanette Sámano, the parent of one of her students.

Mrs. Wilson is an outstanding high school dance instructor. She teaches her students emotions through dance. She helps students build their self-esteem and love themselves for who they are. Mrs. Wilson is always concerned for her students, both inside and outside of her daily classes. She will fight for her students to make sure they have what they need. Many of her students' families are low-income, but she'll always find a way to create equity in her classes. She loves her students, no matter what.

Comments (56)

Chris Graves Posted over a year ago

Melinda is wonderful! She is a very student centered, dynamic teacher. A testament to her legacy is the long line of alumni who come back each year to reconnect with her. I highly endorse her!!

Camila Pereira Posted over a year ago

I’ve met Ms.Wilson in high school as my dance teacher and she has been positively impacting my life ever since! As a teacher, she gives always her best to all her students, no matter their background or abilities, she is a very serious and dedicated professional, who makes us feel (specially as adult dancers) as we are truly seen, pushing our limits and making us improve our abilities. Besides a great professional, I am happy to have gained a friend! Ms. Wilson has always been there for me whenever I needed!

Mark Vondracek Posted over a year ago

Melinda is a dear friend and fellow Global Teacher Prize Ambassador. This means that she has been recognized, in 2018, as one of the top 50 teachers in the world, selected from tens of thousands of nominations of top teachers in over 150 other countries. It also means she is doing something VERY right when it comes to the love and commitment she has for her students, and for what they learn. They certainly learn dance from Melinda - the performance record of her classes over the years speaks for itself, and her productions are locally, nationally and internationally acclaimed. This comes from the curriculum she has developed and the high standards she sets for her students, as well as herself. But they learn SO MUCH MORE than dance, and this is why Melinda is a LifeChanger for so many students. They learn, coming from some very rough, tough, and disadvantaged neighborhoods, how to be better human beings. They learn hard work and commitment to what you take on matter. They learn that it is possible to be good and do good, both for yourself and for others. They learn about what true empathy and compassion are. Melinda models all this every day students are with her, and she does this relentlessly. She fights for her students when administration threatens the arts or their budgets. She works tirelessly to write up and try for (so many) grants so she can afford to put on her shows. She ensures kids have a chance to leave their neighborhoods, often for the first time, to go to other parts of the city and sometimes the country to perform, take in professional shows, to meet celebrities, to gain exposure in the press, and participate in parades. I also have to mention her complete dedication to raising awareness as well as taking action on human trafficking that happens here and abroad. She is a champion of humanity. Melinda has earned this nomination and then some. Regardless of whether she wins or not, she has changed the lives of thousands of students over many years, and she will continue to do so since this is who she is and what she's about. And I will never stop cheering for her, with all the respect and admiration I have.

Ellen Cox Posted over a year ago

Melinda is an amazing teacher and she gives the same amount of passion and energy to all of her students, no matter their background, age, or ability. I met Melinda as an adult and quickly fell in love with her style of teaching that tends to uplift her students and focuses on creativity of movement. As an adult options can be limited to learn dance but Melinda has stepped up, especially during the pandemic, to still create opportunity for adults and make sure we had somewhere to train. She creates such a positive community around dance and people all over Chicago seek her out to train with her. She also focuses on improvement of her dancers and pushing them to their limits and I can see how much my own dancing has flourished under her training. I am lucky to have her as a teacher and proud to call her a friend.

Harold J Deboe Posted over a year ago

From the time I met Melinda Wilson and in the 3 years since I’ve witnessed her nonstop dedication to the children and young adults under her tutelage. She takes pride in and knows every one of them and their particular needs. I had the honor of visiting Chicago and seeing her and her students performing at Millennium Park. I took photos of the event and was privy to the behind the scenes as well as the spectacular performance. It was clear to me after that, that her job does not stop on the dance floor or in a classroom. Some people find their calling, we are all better for the fact that my friend Melinda Wilson found hers.

Jessica Delgado Posted over a year ago

Ms. Wilson is a life changer. She exemplifies excellence in her commitment to her craft and by sharing those gifts with students who may not have otherwise had the opportunity. She is no sideline educator- she is in the thick of movement with her students, challenging them to connect with and strengthen their minds and bodies. I certainly learned about technique which I love, but the life-changing skills, like a growth mindset, dedication to your development, and teamwork, are just a few that have had personal, professional, and even familial implications. Her positive influence is lasting. You’d be hard-pressed to find a former student who doesn’t carry an appreciation for movement with them. To watch her model dance and then recreate that movement for ourselves was empowering. We learned we could do so much more than we thought was possible. Whether through a challenging written assignment or dance, it was possible because she is an incredible coach. She is an undeniable leader imparting invaluable skills. A fierce advocate whose influence knows no expiration. Decades later, I am proud to have had the privilege of learning in Ms. Wilson’s class.

August Tye Posted over a year ago

Melinda Wilson is a teacher who will do anything to see her students succeed and give them undying support. She brought a talented student to me years ago to supplement her training. Together we watched her thrive in dance and in life. I know that her greatest reward is seeing her students grow into amazing young successful people. She has been “that teacher” for so many, she is a true life changer!!

Lana Garnett Posted over a year ago

Melinda Wilson is a great teacher in many aspects and a beautiful person overall. She pushes students and those around her to their fullest limit, allowing us to grow and reach our highest potential. She is a truly a life changer and deserves recognition and a platform to further inspire, encourage and motivate others!

Robin Posted over a year ago

Ms.Wilson was truly impactful in my life and high school education. Because of Ms.Wilson I experienced a lot of things. She is the perfect candidate for this award! The way she loves and cares for all of her students, is truly a sight to see!

Megan Beatty Posted over a year ago

Truly an amazing teacher who inspires and loves her students, no matter their level, to find the joy in dance. It was a honor to have her as my teacher.

Elizabeth Posted over a year ago

I’ve never met someone like Ms.Wilson she truly is the definition of a life changer she always puts everyone in front of her having her as my high school dance teacher really showed me how one person can make a difference in many students lifes

James Posted over a year ago

I haven't met anyone who's supported me as much as Melinda. While she's a very hard worker and cares deeply for everyone she interacts with, she is truly the one person I know who continues to show up time and time again, rain, snow or shine. It doesn't matter if it's in the high school classroom where she brings her students all around the world performing from Kentucky to Barcelona or if it's in her professional dance experience at places such as Lou Conte where she supports staff so much that she's even let some sleep on her couch for a year. This is quite honestly just scratching the tip of the iceberg regarding Melinda, she quite honestly seems to get more done than most fictional characters making making doctors and lawyers look lazy, but despite this she still seems to remember every birthday and remains in contact with her former students whether those be from the school where she teaches or those in her professional life. As her son she's helped me in countless ways and is without a doubt the most influential person I have in my life, whether that be through helping me get through high school and university or even emotionally, she's the one person I know I can call at 4 am on a Tuesday and know she's there to support me. This behavior isn't just limited to me though as her son, she helps out everyone in her circles in any capacity she can. She is to life changing what Charlemagne is to royalty, synonymous. She's truly someone who's foundational in countless people's lives.

Angelica Posted over a year ago

Ms. Wilson is such a great teacher and person! I had the honor of being one of her students for 3 years at curie high school! Such a kind soul. She taught me so much about myself at such a young age. She always wanted more for her students. Not only did she prepare me to be great in dance class but also prepared me to be great in the real world. I experienced so many great things because of Ms. Wilson in high school. No other teacher went above and beyond for us kids as much as she did. Such an unforgettable teacher. So glad she is still teaching and changing other children's lives one dance class at a time!

Isamar Posted over a year ago

I had the pleasure of meeting Melinda Wilson during my sophomore year at Curie. Her class was so inspiring I changed my major from drama to dance. The dedication and passion she has for her students is admirable. She taught me discipline and hard work.

Rebecca Jania Zimmerman Posted over a year ago

I first met Ms. Wilson when I was performing in musicals in high school two decades ago. I was not a dancer but I loved being on stage and wanted to find new ways to experience it. Despite being a complete novice, she helped me learn and grow and gain the confidence to dance in the school musical in my sophomore year, and I loved it so much that I returned to dance in the school musical junior year as well. At that point, I loved learning from her so much that I took a dance class with her my senior year. She had so much passion for dance and did an amazing job sharing that passion with others, but she also had so much patience- I know I'm not the only completely-inexperienced person that she helped gain both the skills and the confidence to perform in front of an audience. She also genuinely cared about every one of the students who crossed her path, either in her dance classes or in the musicals. She took the time to get to know us as individuals, and we knew that she was a safe person to go to when we were having a hard time in life and just needed someone to talk to. Almost all of my best memories from high school seem to involve Ms. Wilson because of how amazing she was.

Jessica McCray Posted over a year ago

Mrs. Wilson was my dance teacher in high school. She gave us an outlet when we were going through things we knew we can come to her not only to dance it out but also confide in her. Mrs. Wilson definitely got me through high school main reason I came to school everyday. She is a positive influence to her students from the past and present and honey she still can dance her butt off ??

Charles Adeyanju Posted over a year ago

I have known Ms. Wison for a long time at Curie HS. She has a passion for teaching her students and giving them long life lessons. She thrives for excellence in her teaching, coaching, and caring for her students. There is always an exciting experience seeing her students perform dance routines and theatrical performances on stages. And her program was well known though social media, along with achieving awards and recognition. She is always happy whenever I see her in school.

Julie Griffin Posted over a year ago

I met Melinda when I worked for Arts Alliance Illinois, an arts advocacy organization located in Chicago. Melinda was involved in the revision of the Illinois Arts Learning Standards which had not been updated in over 20 years. She was an integral part of that team and contributed sp much expertise in her area of dance and beyond. She presented to our board of directors on the IL Arts Learning Standards and also attended Arts Advocacy Day in Washington, D.C., where we met with Illinois representatives and their staff to advocate for the arts and arts education in our state. Finally, I have had the good fortune of following Melinda's students at Curie High School - her spirit is infectious and she has made such a difference in those students' lives. I think there is no one more deserving of the Life Changer of the Year award than Melinda Wilson and I support her nomination without reserve.

RAQUEL DELEON Posted over a year ago

Words to describe Ms.Wilson... Educator, Professional, Dedicated, Passionate, Flexible, Versatile, PRODIGIOUS! And that's just off the tip of my tongue. I have never met a woman as inspiring as Ms. Wilson. My son has been with her for 2 years now and watching the evolution in his dance performance under her instruction is fascinating. He is becoming so much more confident and open to new genres of dance. I am honored to have my child under her wing. She puts her students first and gives 110% into everything she does for them. When children have a person who believes in them as much as she does and pushes them to be the best, it is definitely life changing. She gets them involved in everything she can. They've had awesome opportunies because she goes above and beyond always. For years my family attended the Mag Mile Lights Festival Parade and this year we were able to see our son out there performing because of her. Bottom line, when you have a person in your life that can motivate you in ways you never thought possible, believe in you and build your self esteem, teach with much passion and dedication and support you as a person, period, THAT'S A LIFE CHANGER!

Saraí Posted over a year ago

Ms. Wilson, the hope for all future dancers. Every time we came close to the thought of quitting, Ms. Wilson always made sure that thought stayed distant by pushing us to dance the temptation away. She never let us finish a dance class dissatisfied. She always made sure we can look in the mirror and say that we’re proud of ourselves for the work we did! She was definitely different then any other teacher!

Dominic Belmonte Posted over a year ago

Melinda Wilson is a consummate artist who has deigned to spend her professional life sharing her talent by inspiring young people. She is an absolute credit to the teaching profession. Her students exude the confidence and artistry of working with someone helping them see dance as the ultimate expression of creativity. She has changed and altered the trajectory of so many lives. I am proud to have met her through our work with the Golden Apple Foundation for Excellence in Teaching. She is a true gift to Chicago’s children.

Pamela Hurtado Posted over a year ago

Ms. Wilson was my favorite and most supportive teacher I had in high school. She was more than a dance teacher because not only did she introduce her students to the world of dance, but she helped us prepare for the real world outside of school by applying the same hard work and dedication we put in class to our goals after graduation. She put in 1000% of her heart and effort into making sure her students succeed in life both professionally and personally. She is the reason I felt very prepared for college and felt confident in taking on the world after high school. She always put her students first and always took the time to get to know each of us personally and communicate with us. She deserves this award and so much more for being a beautiful and caring person.

Analy Gamino Posted over a year ago

If there was ever a definition for Melinda Wilson it would be Life Changer. Melinda, whom I still call Mrs. Wilson, is still impacting my life years later. I was a student of hers in high school not just training under her in dance but in valuable life lessons. If it wasn’t for the confidence I built under her wing I would’ve never continued to study dance in college, danced professionally both in Chicago and LA, and now teach dance in a studio in Tampa. Melinda’s teaching style is something that I carry with me today in my own dance classes. The goal is always to train and grow my students to become the best version of themselves, not just in dance but as human beings. The attention and focus Mrs. Wilson gives each of her students individually is what continues to make her the life changer she is. I will continue to aspire to teach and love all my students the way she did with me because it’s what has molded me into the woman in my 30s I am today. She deserves all the recognition and more. Thank you Melinda for all that you do!

Crystal Lopez Posted over a year ago

Ms. Wilson should be considered for this award because she has been someone who pushes her students to be the best that they can. Not only that but her curreculum has prepared me for research papers in college. Because of the dance papers she assigned I was more prepared than ever to tackle college work. I honestly believe her tough work and high expectations prepared me for th real world.

Eliza Gama Posted over a year ago

Ms. Wilson is definitely a life changer! Looking back into my high school years, I don’t remember many teachers nor mentors that would help me as much as her. She definitely pushed us to our best to excel in everything we did… not just dance… but literally everything and she would not allow her students to give up. She really believed in us in everything we did and she would make sure we believed in ourselves as well. I will always have much love and appreciation to those years that I had to have her as my dance teacher.

Maritza Lopez Posted over a year ago

Ms. Wilson always made sure she put her students future and education before anything. She is an amazing person! She prepared me for the real world. Melinda deserves this award!

Lamont Posted over a year ago

The Best Ever????????

Debra Nelson Posted over a year ago

Melinda Wilson is the consummate professional - her expertise in the field of dance unparalleled! I have known Melinda for over a decade sharing the dance floor at the Illinois Alliance for Health, Physical Education, Recreation and Dance (IAHPERD) conferences. She has become both a colleague and friend. As the Dance Representative for IAHPERD, I could always depend on Melinda to submit quality dance sessions to teach as well as choreography for her students to perform at the Dance Gala. Melinda knows how to connect with both students and dance professionals regardless of their technical level. She possesses the ability to engage everyone from the most timid mover and shaker to the most experienced. She is truly a life changer!

Phyllis Yaeger Posted over a year ago

Ms. Melinda Wilson is a superb, amazing, fitness/dance teacher/instructor. I have known Melinda for many years, and not only is she a kind, compassionate, and passionate human being but her expertise and knowledge in dance and fitness are exceptional. During the beginning of Covid-19 and throughout the summer, Melinda was able to give us, in her spare time, a phenomenal low-impact workout, which incorporated stretching, yoga, and Pilates, in our neighborhood park. It gave us the opportunity to be outside and to enjoy some movement for our bodies. It was something we all needed to stay healthy. Distancing and protocols were taken to insure a wonderful workout. Plus, the music was awesome too. I know she gives her all to her students, as a teacher, and provides exceptional direction from her experience in the dance field. My vote for the "Life Changer of the Year" award goes to Melinda Wilson. I can't think of any other person that this could be given to. She's beyond awesome.

Caitlin Linkakter Posted over a year ago

My vote goes to Ms.Wilson! I can’t even explain how amazing and talented she is! I met her my sophomore year in high school and I’m so grateful that I had the chance to experience her class for three years. She has done so much for her students and she always pushed me to accomplish things I would’ve never thought I could do. We traveled to Kentucky to perform in the Kentucky Derby Parade, she took us to a lot of ballets in downtown Chicago and we also got to be in the Macy’s thanksgiving parade. Growing up on the south side of Chicago I never would’ve thought I would be in any parade or even see a fancy ballet but I got to experience all of that because of Ms.Wilson. She not only taught me how to dance and perform but she taught us how to write essays properly for college. She means so much to me and she will always have a special place in my heart. She inspired me in so many ways and she will continue to inspire her students throughout the years.

Sharon Moy Posted over a year ago

I met Melinda taking her jazz class at Hubbard Street Dance about 5 years ago. Getting to know Melinda more, she has a passion to do her best to help and provide high quality teaching to her students taking dance class regardless of age, race, gender and social/economic background. For me personally taking her classes to this day, she reminds all of us it is about the journey and no judgement comparing each other.

Susan Oppenheimer Posted over a year ago

My husband and I ran a program for 40 years called the Oppenheimer Family Foundation Teacher Incentive Grant. Melinda was in a short list of the most dedicated creative and inspiring teachers out of 1000 annual applicants. She worked in an inner city school where most students were in great need. For more than 20 years we were wowed by the shows her students put on. And so impressed by the prestigious colleges they attended. In 2010 I began working on a program to bring a play to build awareness of domestic sex trafficking in Chicago to city students. We formed a teacher committee to write the curriculum. Melinda almost single handedly created a brilliant program which local colleges offered credit for teachers to use in their classrooms. You could not have a more worthy candidate.

Christa Garcia Posted over a year ago

I first met Melinda when she was teaching group fitness classes while working on her degree to become a teacher. Her classes were always packed because her teaching skills and positivity led us to achieve more than we knew that we were capable of, especially complex choreography. She also created a community spirit that extended beyond the classroom, arranging social outings. This made a difference in people's lives by creating a sense of belonging to a healthy lifestyle. She then took her talent to Curie High School where she works endlessly to make sure as many students as possible get College scholarships. When the pandemic hit in 2020, Melinda decided to offer outdoor fitness classes in the local park. At a time when people needed to get out of the house, stay safe, and stay fit, she offered her talents free of charge. She is an inspiration and a community leader.

Dolores Contreras Posted over a year ago

Ms. Wilson was the highlight of my high school years! She saw potential in all of her students and pushed for that potential to come through; it helped me a lot, during a time I really needed it. She saw me as a dancer and helped me see it myself. It’s been an honor having her a part of my life, as a teacher and mentor. She definitely deserves the title of Life Changer, always and forever.

Andrea Coleman Posted over a year ago

Mrs. Melinda Wilson is a passionate dancer, Loving human and dedicated teacher. As a former dance student, I was able to fully embrace my love for dance through her guidance. The patience she has for her students influenced me to explore outside of my comfort zone and move with confidence. She still is and will continue to be one of my favorite teachers. Inspirational and caring, Mrs. Wilson highly deserves the Life Changer Award if not only to be a visual reminder of all the lives she has touched with grace, including my own and for that I am forever grateful.

Estefany lara Posted over a year ago

Amazing teacher & also an amazing human! I only got to experience 1 year of her dance class but I learn so much. 9 years later I still regret not taking full advantage of her classes. I thank her for all the lessons she gave me through her teaching! Maybe some day she’ll be able to teach me all over again! ??

Andrea Maldonado Posted over a year ago

Ms. Wilson is an amazing teacher that continues to inspire through the generations. As a former student, I can now acknowledge how she pushed her students out of her out their comfort zones by making us travel to the north side of the city to do a real dance tryout. It opened my world to what a big beautiful city we lived in. She also took us to beautiful downtown ballet performances and some how managed to get us beautiful new costumes for our performances. She also pushed me academically by requiring us to write a ten page term paper. This really helped me to prepare for the challenges that lie ahead of me during my college experience. Given all the ways she has changed my life, I would say the most important would be giving me the gift of dance as an outlet to express myself, be free and also maintain my health. As the years have continued she has only gets better. I know she was an amazing teacher to me, but I see her taking her students abroad to experience and learn about dance. She is always pushing her envelope and inspiring me, always. Coming from a demographic that would not normally have these opportunities, she is definitely changing lives everyday.

Vanessa Mendoza Posted over a year ago

My vote for the Life Changer of the Year Award will always go to Ms. Wilson. Ms. Wilson does not only teach her students, but she cares for them. She supported us in our academics and pushed us to be the best version of ourselves. Through her passion for dance she inspired us. Ms. Wilson gave me something that will always be a part of who I am. I hope to be able to find more teacher that care the way she does!

William Gil Posted over a year ago

I am honored to say I've known Melinda for many years. Her dedication to the art of dance, and most importantly her students is beyond compare! She is not only providing a safe space for her students, but also instills lessons that they carry through out their lives. CLASS ACT!!

Candice Savage Posted over a year ago

I was a curie student from 04-08 and during that time Ms. Wilson was an amazing teacher! I’ve learned many things from her during that time and was okay exposed to the arts in more ways than one! I’m grateful to have had her as a teacher and to have kept In contact with her over the years. Very much deserving of this nomination seeing as though she’s helped change my life in many ways . ??

Monique James Posted over a year ago

I was a dance student of Mrs. Wilson for 4 years at Curie H.S. (c/o 2002). Mrs. Wilson has made a tremendous impact in me. Her gift of dance and one-of-a-kind choreography, mentorship, and love for myself and my peers has been long-lasting. She was more than a teacher to me, my parents entrusted her, and knew that she was a valuable leader in my life. I am thankful that we are connected for life. When choreographing for my dancers, I have often said, "What would Mrs. Wilson do?" I am one of many artists that feel the same. I can't think of a more commendable recipient for the Life Changer of the Year Award.

Allison Tingwall Posted over a year ago

Ms. Melinda Wilson has done more than teach dance as a class at Curie over the past 20 years an an opportunity. She motivates students to become skilled artists and prepares them to enter collegiate-level programs. Her experience-based curricula engage students in learning that develops their physical skills as well as their artistic style, emotional confidence, and global awareness. Melinda ensures her students are not learning skills in isolation; they learn comprehensively. Melinda teaches dance as art and helps students understand art as social commentary and social action. The pieces her students perform take on complex, international issues and develop them to be successful in their future endeavors!

Dawn Pavloski Posted over a year ago

Having worked on numerous dance productions with Melinda Wilson for nearly fifteen years, I can only speak her praises! She is a professional who goes above and beyond in each and every endeavor with astounding results. Her students become masterful under her care and guidance and there is no doubt she has has provided life changing opportunities for so many lives that she has touched.

Alexander Kmicikewycz Posted over a year ago

Ms. Melinda Wilson champions our students and empowers them to be leaders in the classroom and in the community. Her drive for excellence and continuous improvement demonstrate her belief in lifelong learning and deep reflection. As a dance instructor, she has redefined the mission of our Performing Arts Department. Her work ethic and vision generate momentum that fuels change for better educational outcomes.

Veronica Gurumendi Posted over a year ago

Ms. Wilson is an amazing teacher, my daughter was in her dance class at Curie for 4 years and everything she taught the students was by far outstanding! My daughter till this day still talks about how much she misses her and wants to go back and see her and wants to just go and dance with Ms. Wilson again! Ms. Wilson is for sure the right person for this award!

Sue Khalaieff Posted over a year ago

It is a distinct pleasure to work with Ms. Melinda Wilson as a part of the Illinois Democracy Schools program, which I manage. She is a member of the Advisory Council, and provides leadership to this statewide organization that seeks to improve the quality of civic learning in our schools. Our philosophy is that "every teacher is a Civics teacher", and Melinda embodies this mantra in everything she does. She engages her students with their communities (local, state, national and international); she insists that student voice and choice drive the instruction; she is always challenging herself to find new ways to empower her students and nurture their growing sense of what it means to be a responsible citizen. Melinda makes it a point to tap into the worlds of her students, and meet them where they are. She is an inspirational teacher, an avid learner, a deeply compassionate mentor, a creative curriculum writer, and a model world citizen.

Kyeng Phaovanij Posted over a year ago

Over 15 years ago, I took my one of my first few adult ballet dance lessons at Lou Conte dance with Ms. Wilson. She made the class less intimidating and more fun for those late starters. (I was over 40 years old at the time.) I have been taking her dance classes ever since until now. She is one of the most generous and giving persons I have known. You only feel a positive energy when you are around her. She has impacted the lives of so many of her students including me. I fully support her nomination.

Brad Gill Posted over a year ago

Ms. Wilson is a dedicated educator, who's passion for dance is only surpassed by her love for our students. Ms. Wilson has impacted and changed many of our students' lives and have given our students access to many opportunities through the world of dance. Ms. Wilson defines a life-changer and would bring great honor to this award.

Sharidan Rickmon Posted over a year ago

Ms. Wilson is an inspiration to all of her students which is shown in the “Mamma Wilson” nickname students have deemed fitting over the years. While “dance teacher” is her official title at Curie High School, she never let the parameters of her roles and responsibilities limit her role in our lives. Ms. Wilson is not only an amazing educator, she is a college coach, a mentor, a SAT/ACT tutor, a physical therapist, a mother, and a provider to ALL of her current and former students. While all of her students will/did not continue dancing, we have all continued to demonstrate a very important character trait, grit. I attended Curie high school from 2010-2014 and by being Ms. Wilson’s student I and everyone else learned to never use the word can’t to define our possibilities. This saying along with all of my other experiences with Mamma Wilson helped shape my future as a dancer, an undergraduate and graduate student, a person, and as an educator Everyday, I strive to make an impact as she did: by loving all scholars (whether I teach them or not), providing opportunities for students so that they can be more than what anyone perceives, and of course by not allowing anyone to use the word can’t to define their possibilities. Mamma Wilson, I love you and thank you for changing and shaping my life!

Tiuna Threats Posted over a year ago

Ms. Wilson is a former teacher, mentor and dance instructor of mine. (2000) Years later and I still have the privilege of keeping in touch with her. The care, concern and life skills she instills in her students is unmatched! To know her is a life long blessing and I’m thankful to be part of her family- which is what I feel she creates with her students. Lastly, I never forget the encouragement and emotional support she showed me when I became a teen parent. I am who I am today because of the support she showed during a huge turning point in my life. Ms. Wilson is a life changer to many and receiving this reward would serve as a visual reminder to the many lives she selfless pour into.

Rasheida smith-Mchenry Posted over a year ago

First I will like to say that Melinda Wilson so deserve this award. She was/is my dance teacher from high school until now (34). As a student you can feel when a teacher is doing their job for the money or for the love. She is definitely one that truly love what she do. She goes beyond what her job title is. She did her job with Grace and Dignity. As I teach today I carry her teachings with me. I absolutely love Mrs. Wilson as a community Mama. This award is long over due. Thank you for you attention.

Harmonii Morales Posted over a year ago

Ms.Wilson is a great teacher she has a unique way of making sure everyone is either having fun finding there path through life weather it’s a dancer or something else she changed my life because I never thought I loved performing sure I have performed in the past my whole life but I never took it seriously like I do now she has been supportive with now both of my parents being out my life . My mom had cancer and I just had my dad after he got murder... Im not handling it well that I don’t have anyone to turn to but when I came back to school she had been always there making sure a smile on my face she has my back since I walked in school I kinda want to say holding my hand through out everything I went through and but honestly the pandemic she was there too . And to me I think she’s a person who have changed my life for the good I really appreciate you and all you do . You make my day everyday and even if I come in mad I leave out happy and calm she helped me learn to let situations go and focus on me and me only .Ms.Wilson is someone who Is the right person of getting this reward

Paola Bonilla Posted over a year ago

I am a former student of Ms. Wilson’s dance class (2001-2003) at Curie High School. Back then when I was just a young woman she helped me and my classmates so much. She didn’t just show us how to demi-plié, she showed us to be humble, confident, and strong. Now, 21 years after my high school experience with Ms. Wilson still inspires me to be a better person for my own students, children, and community members. I became an educator because of her! Ms. Wilson is already the winner of Life Changer of the year in my books!!! Sincerely, Paola Bonilla

Brii Velazquez Posted over a year ago

I would never have gone through my high school experience if it wasn't for mama Wilson and all of her love and support!

Dymond Ford Posted over a year ago

I Vote For Ms. Wilson She Is A Great Dance Teacher

Alesky Dantes Posted over a year ago

I was a former student at Curie high school. I was in Dance with Mrs. Wilson. I met some wonderful people there including Mrs. Wilson herself. She worked hard to give the best dance performances for the audience while also caring for the students at the same time. I enjoyed the activities and dances we did. I'd say this nomination is well deserved