Bronx music teacher named finalist for worldwide $1 million Global Teacher Prize

HUNTS POINT, Bronx (WABC) -- A Bronx music teacher is one the top 10 finalists in the $1 million Global Teacher Prize.

The announcement naming Melissa Salguero was made before faculty, staff and students during a morning assembly at PS 48 in Hunts Point. She is one of 10,000 teachers from 39 countries who applied for the prize.

Playing with the student members of the school band, she molds, shapes and teaches her young musicians. And this is more than a passion.

"I'm educating these kids for the future, and I want them to leave my classroom with so much pride in their heart and the mindset that nothing is impossible," she said.

In fact, for 30 years before she arrived in 2010, there was no music program at PS 48. Her goal?

"Music education," she said. "I want every student in every school to have music education, because that is the future."

Always reaching higher, Salguero applied for the $1 million Global Teacher Prize. And on this day, the entire school gathered for a student assembly to hear actor Hugh Jackman announce the top 10 finalists for the prize. When Salguero's name was read, the students erupted in cheers.

"This moment right here is not for me," she told those assembled. "This is for all of us here at PS 48, because our teachers are making a true change in this world."

The other nine finalists all hail from different countries.

"She is the only American to be selected for this amazing thing," principal Joseph DiCrescento said. "That it's here in Hunts Point is even better."

Her students, mostly fourth and fifth graders, have more than great affection for her.

"I'm really happy for her," student Ashley Falcon said. "I think it's very great that she got it, because she deserves it. Like, her personality is amazing."

"And if she wins, it's going to be really exciting," student Kiara Perez added.

Salguero will travel to Dubai in late March to learn if she will win the Global Teacher Prize.

"The only music teacher to make the top 10 finalist positions, I'm just honored," she said.

Honored -- and dedicated to making sure all of her students succeed.

CLICK HERE to read more about the Top 10 finalists.

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