Mandy Manning of Joel E. Ferris High School in Spokane, Washington was awarded the 2018 National Teacher of the Year award Wednesday at the White House. However, through her clothing choice, Manning took the opportunity in a political turn.
Manning is a math and English teacher who works with refugee and immigrant students, according to Getty. President Trump, Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos and Secretary of Labor Alex Acosta were on hand to present the award to Manning.
At the event, President Trump gave short remarks, saying, “Teachers like Mandy play a vital role in the well-being of our children, the strength of our communities, and the success of our nation.”
Trump continued, “The job of a teacher is not only to instruct the next generation of workers, but the next generation of citizens to teach our children to care for others, to think for themselves, to love their country, to be proud of our history, and to be true pillars of their families and their communities.”
While Manning did not say anything to Trump, her clothing choice for the award ceremony spoke volumes. Manning chose to wear a a collection of pins, some of them advocating political messages. One pin read “TRANS EQUALITY NOW,” another pin promoted the Women’s March and another promoted the NEA labor union.
Appropriately, another pin read, “LIFE BEGINS AT THE END OF YOUR COMFORT ZONE.”
Trump made no mention of the political statement Manning was sending with her pins and kept the comments at the event politics-free. Trump said, “To Mandy and all of the amazing educators here today: Your tireless dedication doesn’t just inspire your students, it inspires all of us. And I can tell you, it very much inspires me. We honor you and every citizen called to the noble vocation of teaching.”