CNN Hero of the Year Nicole Taylor: Social Justice Through Local Achievement

Each year, the Oprah Winfrey Leadership Academy for Girls in South Africa has invited the United States to celebrate its largest scholarship initiative: a five-year federal grant worth $12 million. Year One of the grant was specifically focused on maintaining a local rural school from the previous school year. That’s when Nicole Taylor was invited to “re-double” her efforts to continue to provide a foundation for future success for the educational experience and health of the students at Spirit Hill Academy. Over the course of Year Two, which began in 2014, she and other staff focused on helping students find food, shelter, and shelter, in order to help keep students off the streets and out of bad behavior. In one instance, Taylor spent several hours at the school removing an armed intruder from the building while the other staff kept students safe.

Today, in the midst of the #MeToo movement, Taylor receives the annual “CNN Hero of the Year” award.

Katie Delaney is a producer with CNN’s global reporting unit. She has covered breaking news across the United States, Europe, and Asia and contributed to two major breaking news stories that captured the world’s attention: the Brussels airport attack and the capture of Abu Sayyaf in the Philippines.

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