Alhassan teaches History in New York’s Bronx. He himself has overcome many obstacles to succeed in life and in his profession: an immigrant from West Africa, he had a rare eye disease in youth which left him nearly blind. Following the early death of his sister as an indirect result of her being unable to emigrate to the US and receive medical treatment, Alhassan wanted to become an immigration lawyer, but he was persuaded that he could make more of a difference by empowering people as a teacher. He knows that having the right opportunities often makes the difference between success and failure.
To motivate and equip his students to succeed, Alhassan has created the Inspiring Teens program. This relationship-based approach is designed to help teens build the skills to thrive academically, socially, professionally and economically. The program is built on five essential skills: Mindset, Vision, Setting, Interpersonal Communications, Leadership, and Financial Management. Each period starts with upbeat positive music, and employs the central concept of a Well-Rounded Student – consisting of eloquent speaking, purposeful reading, persuasive writing, and critical thinking. The program has resulted in a boost to standardized exam results from 29% to 69% in one year with a pass rate of over 90%. 100% of the students who took the program for credit graduated and went to college, and for the last three years Alhassan has been the “Most Admired and Inspirational Teacher” in his school.
If awarded the prize, Alhassan would invest the money to expand the Inspiring Teens curriculum to other schools in New York City, take the program online to a global audience, and establish college scholarships for those who cannot pay.