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Catherine McMillin


The Arts & College Preparatory Academy • Columbus, Ohio

Part of being an educator is knowing how to connect with and help struggling students. When Catherine Papai-McMillin started helping a struggling student in her classroom, she learned an interesting fact. Their birthdays were only one day apart. 

“The year after graduation, he came back to give me a card for my birthday, and he thanked me for believing in him and never giving up on him,” said Catherine, who teaches social studies at The Arts & College Preparatory Academy in Columbus, Ohio. “He’s doing all right some 13 years later and we are still in touch! I had no idea he felt that way!” 

Catherine frequently uses The Bill of Rights Institute’s resources on the Bill of Rights and Incorporation while teaching, adding that she appreciates “how thorough and well thought-out they are, and they’re free!” 

She cited another historical figure who displayed compassion and kindness when choosing her favorite – Harriet Tubman. 

“She was indomitable, courageous, a leader, and a risk-taker,” Catherine said. “She risked her life again and again for others and fought for justice to the end of her days. I admire her and am frustrated that her legacy gets reduced to just her work on the Underground Railroad. That was vital work, but she lived an incredible life of service and passion and threw off the brutal bonds of slavery through her own determination.”