- Associated Press - Sunday, October 23, 2016

NORMAL, Ill. (AP) - An English as a Second Language teacher from suburban Chicago has been named the 2017 Illinois Teacher of the Year.

The Illinois State Board of Education is honoring Elk Grove High School teacher Ricky Castro. They announced him as the winner on Saturday at an annual banquet in Normal.

The board cited Castro for helping students learn two languages and having a “passion to give back.”

Castro created a program at Elk Grove High School called Estudiantes Unidos. The program has high school students mentor junior high and elementary students. More than 200 students are involved.

The honor means that Castro will spend next year speaking to at workshops, education conferences and community meetings. He will also represent Illinois at the National Teacher of the Year program.

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