Celebrating remarkable teachers at the 27th Annual Students’ Teacher Recognition Reception
On May 6, 2019, the Centre for the Advancement of Teaching and Learning hosted the 27th Annual Students’ Teacher Recognition Reception (STRR). The event gave outstanding graduating students a chance to publicly recognize and thank those primary, secondary and post-secondary teachers who were instrumental in their academic success.
At the event, graduating students from 20 faculties and schools each gave heartfelt tributes to a K-12 teacher and a university professor or instructor who inspired them or went the extra mile to guide their learning.
“The teachers who are being honoured have spent many years honing their skill and are uniquely being recognized this afternoon by their students,” said Dr. Mark Torchia, Vice-Provost (Teaching and Learning), University of Manitoba. “This unique event is an opportunity to recognize teachers who have had an impact on the lives of the students represented here today.”
One student celebrating his teachers was Bradley Feltham. His high school teacher Robert Dyckson at Gander Collegiate in Newfoundland remembers him well in both athletics and in his biology classes. They had many conversations about vitamins and supplements as ways of increasing one’s overall health. But it was Feltham’s drive and determination that impressed Dyckson the most.
“Brad was always a hard worker, and very respectful to everyone,” Dyckson says. “He was always willing to take on new challenges.”
Following high school, Feltham attended Memorial University then moved to Winnipeg to continue his education.
He explains: “I had been told by my peers that the researchers at the University of Manitoba were the ones I need to be around and learn from. The U of M took my previous degrees into consideration and transferred my credits.”
One of the researchers to whom Feltham had been directed is Dr. Miyoung Suh in food and human nutritional sciences within the Faculty of Agricultural and Food Sciences. Feltham worked in her laboratory as a summer research student and impressed Suh with his dedication and mentorship.
Suh explains: “As part of the University of Manitoba Aboriginal Students’ Association (UMASA), Brad helped to plan, promote, and execute events for the Indigenous population at the university. He mentored students in the Verna J. Kirkness Science and Engineering Program, even picking them up every day from their residence to bring them to the Richardson Centre for Functional Food and Nutraceuticals for their studies.”
Suh adds: “Brad is an exceptional role model for Indigenous students and the younger generation.”
Feltham notes why he selected her for special recognition: “Dr. Suh seems to find real enjoyment in her teaching, and demonstrates that in order to learn more about a subject, you need to understand that research is more than just work.”
He adds: “She is a true scientist and she taught how to question everything, with research savvy. She encouraged me to use my curiosity and have a positive attitude, something that might be lost to other researchers.”
Thousands of kilometres away, Dyckson is truly touched by the knowledge that Feltham credits him with his early interest in health and nutrition.
“You don’t always know the impact you have had on someone’s life,” he says. “It’s nice to know I had such a positive influence on one of my students.”
Another student celebrating her teachers was Sarah Currie from the Faculty of Engineering, who recognized her high school teacher James Friesen at Westgate Mennonite Collegiate and Dr. Song Liu in biosystems engineering at the U of M.
Currie explained: “When I first met Mr. Friesen, I was a quiet and introverted student who rarely participated in class. But he has a seemingly effortless ability to forge individual connections with every student and make them feel comfortable sharing their own perspectives on the course material. His class helped me to develop a more inquisitive approach to problem solving that I relied upon throughout my engineering years.”
In university, Currie said that Dr. Liu brought normally dry topics to life by incorporating magic tricks and demonstrations into his lectures.
“He clearly valued learning and wanted to give his students the best possible chance at success,” she added.
Every student who spoke about his or her teachers reiterated that while it was the students who received awards and honours upon graduation, it was the teachers themselves who deserved accolades, for it was they who displayed true dedication and commitment to their professions.
Dr. Torchia informed the packed-house audience: “Those who follow a career path that embodies teaching are committed to developing their own abilities to teach effectively, helping their students learn, and finding meaningful experiences and knowledge to pass on to their learners. The individuals who choose to dedicate their lives to teaching so often provide guidance, inspiration, or direction at a very crucial time in a young person’s life.”
Please find the full list of 2019’s students and teachers here.