UM Today UM Today University of Manitoba UM Today UM Today UM Today

Plant science student Danica Swaenepoel (centre) with her former teacher April Popple (right), Souris Secondary School, and her professor Anita Brule-Babel, plant science, Faculty of Agricultural and Food Sciences.

Teachers who inspired students to push themselves

May 12, 2014 — 

One student attributed her success — 100% in a provincial exam — to her teacher, Elizabeth Wiens of Edward Schreyer School. Alexander Pawlowsky thanked his high school theatre director for encouraging him to be unafraid “to be quirky, outspoken and not to give a damn of what others think.” Faculty of Education student Shirley Ewanchuk was grateful for the “endurance and patience” of her junior high band teacher Jim Stein, in prodding young musicians from their first discordant notes to sonorous triumph.

Teachers who were lauded at this unique event on May 7 had one thing in common: All saw potential in their students. They inspired their students, through their own qualities and instruction and by pushing their students to be their best and to do their best.


Teachers who were lauded had one thing in common: All saw potential in their students.


The Student-Teacher Recognition Reception features outstanding students from faculties across campus, each of whom honour two teachers: One from their K-12 years and another from their university education. The annual event is co-sponsored by the office of the Vice-Provost (academic affairs) and the Centre for the Advancement of Teaching and Learning.

President and Vice-Chancellor David Barnard, in his introduction, called it “a favourite event” for many in the university community. He mentioned his own grade 8 teacher whose challenge to “think differently” changed his life. A university prof that he had was so good, he continued, that “I signed up for his grad course and barely passed.”

The qualities that make a teacher memorable? The 18 students who presented the awards had some definitive answers.


The qualities that make a teacher memorable? The 18 students who presented the awards had some definitive answers.


These teachers “captivated with [their] teaching style, positive attitude and zest for life,” as Human Ecology student Michelle Stevens said about Constanca Magalhaes, professor, human nutritional sciences, Faculty of Human Ecology.

They gained respect by expecting a lot, and by encouraging and supporting their students to achieve it.

Engineering student Kevin Sagan told how his St. Paul’s physics teacher Larry Franz asked him, a “shy, soft-spoken student” at the time, to be a retreat leader and to give a speech on leadership. He thanked his civil engineering prof Shawn Clark for his kindness and support.

School of Dental Hygeine student Aaron Szucsik thanked his grade school teacher Timothy Beyak, Shamrock School, for taking him “from once being a struggling student” to giving him “a passion for learning and pushing the limits. He also thanked his Laura MacDonald, professor, Dental Hygiene, for giving him “the confidence to do more than I thought.”

“Space and strength,” agreed College of Dentistry student Vanessa Hunzinger, “were two things I received from my teachers.”


‘Space and strength were two things I received from my teachers.’


She was struck when her high school art teacher Cloyd Barth, Glenlawn Collegiate, gave her a project with instructions to “do what inspires you.” In Barth she found “freedom to explore the world”; her dentistry professor Frank Hechter in preventative dental science — who also taught her father — gave her strength by “pushing for excellence.”

These teachers gained affection through their “creativity and humour” in motivating their students, as Michelle Ward said about her high school English teacher Kelly Smith, Lord Selkirk Reg. Comp. — and by “making students want to learn,” as Kayla Antonowich said of her instructor Gary Martens, plant science, School of Agriculture.

They won their students’ hearts with their passion, commitment and caring — and an unwavering belief in their students’ abilities.


They won their students’ hearts with their passion, commitment and caring — and an unwavering belief in their students’ abilities.


Thomas Roberts told how his violin teacher in the Desautels Faculty of Music, Oleg Pokhanovski, composed a new work on his vacation for Roberts after Roberts told him he wanted to play the 1st movement of an unfinished, hand-written concerto by Sophie-Carmen Eckhardt-Gramatté. Roberts played the piece in his recital last year, and described Pokhanovski as “selfless, kind, caring and dedicated.”

Pharmacy student Jillian James thanked her high school guidance counsellor Sharon Labossiere, Kelvin High School, for teaching her “work-life balance” in achieving “anything you put your mind to.”

These teachers helped their students to understand and commit to their “ability to accomplish the unknown” and push themselves beyond their comfort zones, as Ward said about her advisor Jennifer Theule, assistant professor, psychology, Faculty of Arts — and through their ability to transform their students’ “minds into colourful landscapes,” as Uliana Kovaltchouk said of Deborah Court, professor, microbiology, Faculty of Science.

Their “enthusiasm, passion and dedication” — as Tatum Lawlor described Dietmar Straub, associate professor, landscape architecture, Faculty of Architecture — did not go unnoticed.

Since it began 22 years ago, the Students’ Teacher Recognition Reception has recognized over 850 teachers.

–Mariianne Mays Wiebe



Students’ Teacher Recognition Reception

Here is the 2013-2014 list of presentees and recipients in its entirety.



Agricultural & Food Sciences   

Danica Swaenepoel                     April Popple                          Anita Brûlé-Babel

Plant Science                                Souris Secondary School    Plant Science


School of Agriculture

Kayla Antonowich                        Elizabeth Wiens                    Gary Martens

Agriculture Diploma                   Edward Schreyer School     Plant Science



Tatum Lawlor                              Tracy Youck                          Dietmar Straub

Environmental Design              École Connaught School    Landscape Architecture



Alexander Pawlowsky               Claire Lussier                         Karin James

German & Slavic Studies          St. Paul’s High School          German & Slavic Studies


Michelle Ward                            Kelly Smith                             Jennifer Theule

Psychology                                  Lord Selkirk Reg. Comp.      Psychology


Clayton H. Riddell Faculty of Environment, Earth, & Resources

Timothy Hayward                     Richard Humphrey              Ian Ferguson

Geological Sciences                  Glenlawn Collegiate             Geological Sciences


School of Dental Hygiene

Aaron Szucsik                             Timothy Beyak                      Laura MacDonald

Dental Hygiene                           Shamrock School                 Dental Hygiene


College of Dentistry

Vanessa Hunzinger                    Cloyd Barth                            Frank Hechter

Dentistry                                      Glenlawn Collegiate             Preventive Dental Science



Shirley Ewanchuk                     Jim Stein                              Orest Cap

Senior Years Education           Cecil Rhodes School           Curriculum, Teaching, & Learning



Kevin Sagan                                Larry Franz                          Shawn Clark

Civil Engineering                       St. Paul’s High School       Civil Engineering


Human Ecology

Michelle Stevens                      Deb May                                 Constanca Magalhaes

Human Nutritional Sciences    St. Mary’s Academy         Human Nutritional Sciences


Kinesiology & Recreation Management

Samantha Wagner                 Kathryn Slovinski                  Kyla Ray

Rec. Mgmt & Comm. Devt   Vincent Massey Collegiate   Recreation Services



Liam Black                               Larry Franz                            Philip Osborne

Law                                            St. Paul’s High School          Law


Marcel A. Desautels Faculty of Music

Thomas Roberts                     Sandra Roberts                      Oleg Pokhanovski

Music                                        MB Ed. Homeschooling       Strings


College of Nursing

Rachel Usick                           Greg Lawson                          Diana Clarke

Nursing                                    Tanner’s Cross School          Nursing


College of Pharmacy

Jillian James                          Sharon Labossiere                  Robert Ariano

Pharmacy                                Kelvin High School                Pharmacy



Uliana Kovaltchouk              Lorne Richards                       Deborah Court

Microbiology                          Sisler High School                 Microbiology


Rebecca Sherbo                     Erin Kowal                              John Sorensen

Chemistry                               Balmoral Hall School           Chemistry

, ,

© University of Manitoba • Winnipeg, Manitoba • Canada • R3T 2N2

Emergency: 204-474-9341