Día de los Muertos, or Day of the Dead, is a joyous time to remember those who have passed away. In Mexico, ancient Aztec traditions were combined with Christianity during the Spanish conquest. As a result, each year families construct colorful altars or ofrendas in their homes that essentially welcome the spirit of their loved ones on November 1st and 2nd.
Senior School English Teacher Selected for Outstanding Educator Award
Ann Russell, Senior School English teacher, was selected for the University of Chicago’s Outstanding Educator Award.
James G. Nondorf, Dean of Admissions and Financial Aid at The University of Chicago, informed Head of Senior School Dr. Peter Lau via letter of this honor on Friday, September 7, 2018.
The distinguished award has existed for more than three decades. Every year, the university invites first-year students to nominate an educator who has influenced them, challenged them, or helped them along the path toward intellectual growth. Sam Casale ’18, a freshman at the University of Chicago, nominated Mrs. Russell. “We receive letters back from hundreds of students, inspired by teachers who have changed the course of their lives, who taught them to reimagine texts, to delve deeper into problem-solving, and to think beyond the borders of the classroom in the pursuit of their own education,” Mr. Nondorf wrote.
“The news was a lovely surprise. Having a career that's really a lifelong conversation about literature, writing, thinking, and learning has been my great good fortune,” Ann said. “I have no doubt about the source of inspiration for my students or any reader or writer for that matter, when we connect with a story, discover a new perspective, and find a voice, we can't help but be inspired.”
In his letter, Mr. Nondorf continued, “As an institution that prides itself on being committed to the Life of the Mind, we at the University of Chicago are heartened to see that your school fosters and supports such outstanding individuals.” On behalf of the university, Mr. Nondorf congratulated Sewickley Academy and our faculty for the continued support of excellence.
Dr. Lau commented on Mrs. Russell’s innovation in the classroom, stating that she has pioneered the use of film in her course, “Documenting the World,” in recent years. By creating their own films, students learn how to tell rich and textured stories by written, spoken, visual, and sound elements.
“I am not surprised that Ann would be nominated for this award. She is an amazing teacher, who forges deep connections with students, inspiring them to love literature and write with clarity, sophistication, and style,” Dr. Lau said. “Ann's influence on students is clear - she imparts a love of learning, helps students become independent and critical thinkers, and provides them with the skills of written, verbal, and visual communication that gives them a leg up in the world beyond 315 Academy Avenue. I am so pleased that Ann was recognized for this award. She is truly deserving of the recognition.”