PORTLAND, Maine (NEWS CENTER) -- A teacher at Casco Bay High School now understands the power of television.
Ekhlas Ahmed came to the United States from Sudan in 2006 as a refugee. She learned English by watching Ellen DeGeneres on the Ellen Show. She went on to graduate from college and is now in her second year of teaching at Casco Bay High School in Portland. The tri-lingual teacher is just one part of the school's diversity.
"You can see that it's so much better that we have people that represent different parts of the globe, but yet they work as classmates, as teammates and it's beautiful to see every morning," said Ahmed.
She coordinated the school's Make It Happen program that offers after school help to multi-cultural students. The same students the teacher featured in a calendar called Celebrating Africa that got the attention of DeGeneres. Ahmed was featured on the Ellen Show in February where she found out that her calendars would be for sale in the Ellen Store. Raising money for a cause that helps spread the word of the importance of education.
"Chance to Advance which is the organization that we are doing all of this for and I was able to raise over $7,000 for them because of the purchases of the calendar," said Ahmed.
In just two years of teaching Ahmed has managed to have an impact that far exceeds her experience and it has not gone unnoticed by the students she works with. Senior Claude Kirongozi and others are inspired by her every day help in the classroom that was put under one of the biggest spot lights.
"It really blew my mind that I saw her up on that screen and she became so comfortable and it was really inspirational," said Kirongozi.
DeGeneres also presented Ahmed with a check from Shutterfly worth $22,000 to pay off her students loans.