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Malala Yousafzai

Empowering Kids Through Poetry, This Teacher 'Thinks Outside The Box'

Empowering Kids Through Poetry, This Teacher 'Thinks Outside The Box'

MANCHESTER — Ryan Parker describes himself as "super-hyped."

The Illing Middle School teacher is a poet and hip-hop scholar, a live wire with bursts of hair beneath a signature bandanna. Parker can recite long passages from Shakespeare and Mos Def. He's a Bob Marley fan, peace advocate, slam poetry competitor and the founder of open-mike programs in his school and the community.

Admirers say Parker spreads his love of language and the confidence-building power of the amplified performance to all his charges. Justis Lopez, Parker's former student and now a social studies teacher at Manchester High School, calls him his "life mentor."

"He has...

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