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Cleveland schools English teacher named among nation's 10 most inspirational teachers

Bridget Lambright has high expectations and pushes her students at the Cleveland School of Science & Medicine on the John Hay Campus to succeed.

Her work received the recognition of the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts in Washington, D.C., which announced Tuesday that Lambright is one of 10 national winners of the inaugural Kennedy Center/Stephen Sondheim Inspirational Teacher Award.
Lambright, who teaches English, will receive $10,000. Lambright and the student she inspired will be showcased with the nine other recipients on a web site dedicated to inspirational teachers.
"When I was told what award I was receiving, I felt an overwhelming sense of humility," said the 41-year-old South Euclid resident. "I try to teach all of my students like they're my children, that's the kind of impact I try to make. "
She said the award came as a surprise.
"I'm not the most popular teacher with the students, and they and their parents don't understand why I'm so hard," she said. "I hold the bar high and look at the big picture. Holding them to the highest expectations pays off for these young people, many of whom are now honor students in college."
Lambright was nominated by former student Chardonay Brown, who's a freshman at Wright State University. Brown could not be reached for comment.
Senior Dwanda Little said Lambright is very deserving of the award. She is a student in Lambright's African-American Literature class.
"She is a wonderful teacher and a wonderful woman," Little said. "All she wants for all of us is to have success."
Ed Weber, the campus principal, said Lambright is a dynamite, hard-working faculty member who has high expectations for her students.
"At times, she has a tough love for them," Weber said. "She pushes to get the most out of them."