MLA teacher awarded Human Rights Award

Recognized by St. Louis Park for dedication


Ashley Reyes

MLA teacher Cory Litzow Lorentz assists students in the classroom. She was recently recognized for her work in the district.

Nina Miller

How does it feel to win this award?

It feels great, I was surprised. I didn’t even see the email. It was one of my colleagues who said to me on the asynchronous day, “You won an award,” and I’m like, “I did?” I looked at it and felt numb. I felt as if I was on cloud nine for a while, and then it started to sink in. I had never heard of this award in St. Louis Park, so I’m learning more about it. You just do something because that’s just the right thing to do, and (that) how you live your life and what you believe in. To be recognized for that and honored in this way, especially from two people with whom I’ve worked for several years really means a lot. 

Did you know that you were being nominated? 

No, I was nominated by two older gentlemen who are volunteers in my classroom. They’ve been volunteers in my classroom for 5years and the other 11 years, and they know each other. They did all the nominating on their own. Nobody said anything to me. 

What does this award mean to you moving forward?

Getting this award especially at the end of this year, which I’m sure many students and staff are saying this was probably the most difficult year of my teaching career and I’ve been teaching since 1994. I asked myself, can I keep doing this because it was so difficult.

And then for this to come, I said,’Okay, I guess I gotta keep going’. What I’m doing is meaningful. I know that I’m helping people and connecting with people. But to actually be recognized for that, at this level just kind of confirms that what I’m doing is good and it’s impactful. So it changed my perspective, I thought, ‘this is what I’m going to keep doing’.

How would you explain this award? 

I’m still trying to understand the intent of (the award). Getting recognized and getting a Human Rights Award, that in of itself says something. I will find out on June 28, (at the award presentation). I hope I don’t have to give a speech. They did say to me make sure that you bring some of your supporters and bring some students, so they make me feel not as nervous. Some of my colleagues organized a little celebration after school and one of my volunteers came and he (asked if I wanted to see the application). He sent it to me that night and I read it and I was speechless. For him to put into words what he sees, (it means a lot). If you’re a teacher, you’re there to help people no matter what, you (don’t realize the impact). You just do things because people need you. 

Could you give a very brief kind of description of what your job is?

As an MLA teacher, a multilingual teacher, it goes beyond being a teacher and just teaching the curriculum. I do home visits, I know the families of my students. I know a lot of the families and cultures. When a student goes to school, it’s the school’s job to take care of their child and help them with whatever they need. If they don’t know how to say how they’re feeling, I will go and help translate. I talk about this with my friend, who I work with here in the classroom. We always say, ‘We’re not just teachers, we’re nurses, we’re mothers, we’re psychiatrists, therapists, we’re everything rolled up in one.’”