Teacher at Montgomery Blair High School is Among Thirty-Two Winners of International Volunteer Award

March 2, 2000
Joseph Bellino, a teacher at Montgomery Blair High School, has been named by the U.S. State Department and USA Today to receive a Millennium International Volunteer Award.

He is one of 32 winners from around the nation, a list that includes former President Jimmy Carter and Mrs. Rosalynn Carter. An estimated 500-700 guests attended a March 1 awards gala at the National Building Museum to honor the winners, who have given their time and talent to promote global understanding and international education.

Bellino has been a teacher of English for Speakers of Other Languages (ESOL) at Blair since 1974 and is currently chair of the ESOL Department. He has volunteered large amounts of time on initiatives that support the school's international students and their families. Fourteen years ago he helped start Silver International, an international student newspaper, to encourage students to use their English reading and writing skills and to help students of all cultures learn about each other. Articles can be viewed at

Bellino also has spent weekends and summer hours developing computer programs that allow the school to send attendance and grade report letters in Spanish, Vietnamese and simplified English. In addition, he has been an active volunteer and leader in a local community center that serves many of the school's immigrant families and also has encouraged high school students to become involved in educational and service activities.

The award is not the first Bellino has received. In November 1998, he was named Teacher of the Year by the Maryland PTA for his outstanding service to ESOL students, parents and the community. Two weeks prior to that, he received the 1998 Educator of the Year Award from the Silver Spring Chamber of Commerce, given annually to an individual who has had a significant impact on his or her students.

The U.S. State Department's Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs partnered with USA Today to sponsor the Millennium International Volunteer Awards Program. It is one of a number of special millennium programs sponsored by the State Department this year and is designated as an official program of the White House Millennium Council.

As part of the award, a $5,000 donation will be made to a nonprofit organization of each winner's choice. Bellino has designated Silver International and the Carroll Avenue and Quebec Terrace Community Center as his recipients.

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