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Alvin Aureliano Davis Is The Only Latino Finalist For 'National Teacher Of The Year'

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Alvin Aureliano Davis is the only Latino finalist for the 2012 National Teacher of the Year award.
Alvin Aureliano Davis is the only Latino finalist for the 2012 National Teacher of the Year award.

It's not often that high school teachers get national recognition for their hard work and dedication. In fact, the prestigious honor comes around only once a year.

This year, Florida music teacher Alvin Aureliano Davis has made it to the semi-finals for the National Teacher of the Year award. He is the only Latino teacher to make the final four, according to NBC Latino.

Davis has taught for more than 11 years, eight of which were in his current position at Miramar High School. He also has numerous achievements under his belt, including the 2012 Florida Teacher of the Year award.

Born in Chicago, Davis was instilled with the importance of education at an early age by his Mexican mother and African-American father. Though drugs and gangs were ever-present in his neighborhood, his parents insisted that he focus on school, often assigning extra homework to supplement his assignments.

"It wasn't easy at all. I knew people who used drugs and were in gangs -- I even had family members that were involved in that lifestyle," Davis told NBC Latino. "But my parents knew that education was our way of not staying where we were, to achieve something better."

Davis relies on this upbringing in his teaching by emphasizing the importance of academics in his musical curriculum. He constructs lesson plans to better suit the needs of his students, most of who come from minority backgrounds.

If chosen, Davis would not be the first music teacher to receive the significant honor, which dates back to 1952. The award committee whittles down the list from the state Teachers of the Year before choosing semi-finalists that will be in the running for the final prize announced in April.

Davis is up against Gay Barnes (2012 Alabama Teacher of the Year), Rebecca Lynn Mieliwocki (2012 California Teacher of the Year) and Angela Wilson (2012 Department of Defense Education Activity Teacher of the Year).

Check out the award ceremony from last year's honor below.

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