“I am so delighted that U.S. Representative Jahana Hayes will be our Commencement speaker this year. Her personal story as a single mom, college student, high school teacher, and now as a member of Congress, is one I’m sure will inspire the Class of 2019 and all who attend our graduation ceremony. She has a passion and unifying presence that represent all we are trying to do at MxCC to be a community of compassion and civility,” said Campus CEO Steven Minkler.
Congresswoman Hayes, a Democrat, was elected to represent the 5th District of Connecticut—which includes the city of Meriden—in November 2018. She is the first African-American woman to represent the state of Connecticut in Congress.
Hayes first garnered widespread attention while serving as a teacher at John F. Kennedy High School in Waterbury, when she was selected as the Connecticut Teacher of the Year. She went on to earn the distinction of being named 2016 National Teacher of the Year, leading to an invitation to the White House by then-President Barack Obama. In her capacity as National Teacher of the Year, Hayes traveled the country and the world as an ambassador for public education engaging all stakeholders in policy discussions meant to improve outcomes for students.
Congresswoman Hayes’ story is one of achievement despite the odds and overcoming the obstacles that life can place before you. She has been quoted as saying that “education saved her life” and is a fierce advocate for ensuring that equitable access to educational opportunities exists for all students and families.
She is a graduate of Naugatuck Valley Community College, Southern Connecticut State University, and the University of Bridgeport.
Most recently, Congresswoman Hayes was the luncheon speaker at the 2019 Faculty Advisory Committee Conference on Student Success and Shared Governance.