Please consider downloading the latest version of Internet Explorer
to experience this site as intended.
Tools Search Main Menu

Singer Family Prizes recognize inspirational high school teachers

May 16, 2016
four smiling students standing behind four seated teachers(left to right): Mary Bohning, nominated by graduating senior Pablo Arroyo; Chris Hartman, nominated by graduating senior Ulrik Soderstrom; Randall Harper, nominated by graduating senior Angela Remus; and William Kibler, nominated by graduating senior Jessica He.

The Singer Family Prizes for Excellence in Secondary School Teaching honor the high school teachers and staff that have made a tremendous impact on a University of Rochester graduate’s growth and academic development. This year, Mary Bohning, Randall Harper, Chris Hartman and William Kibler are recognized with the Singer Family Prize for the great influence they had on Rochester’s most recent graduates.

Each year, seniors in the College are invited to nominate a high school teacher or staff member for consideration for the Singer Family Prize. The four award winners receive a plaque and $3,000, as well as $2,500 for their school. Singer Prize recipients are also invited to the University of Rochester’s commencement ceremony to watch as their former students graduate.

“The Paul Singer Family Foundation feels strongly that while devoted secondary school teachers play a vital role in the intellectual development of American society, they often receive little recognition or acclaim for their endeavors,” said Gordon Singer, son of Paul Singer ’66, who endowed the prize.

Mary Bohning, AP Environmental Science and Ecology, Harborside Academy, Kenosha, Wisconsin

Mary Bohning was nominated by graduating senior Pablo Arroyo for her dedication to the environment and helping to instill healthy eating habits in children at a young age.

Arroyo, who is graduating with a bachelor’s degree in environmental science, says that through the gardening initiative Bohning began in 2010 at Harborside Academy, she taught him to understand the importance of not only the scientific aspects of gardening, but also how gardening is a complete action that requires “nurturing the fruits of our labors, both physically and mentally.”

In his nomination letter, Arroyo says, “Here at the University of Rochester our mantra is Learn, Discover, Heal, Create—and make the world Ever Better. Mrs. Bohning has met each and every one of these five parts of the mantra through her work in not only helping to create school gardens, but also by instilling a sense of community and passion in those she has taught.”

“I can honestly say that she has made the world ever better one student at a time,” Arroyo concluded.

Chris Hartman, Sustainability, The Harley School, Rochester, New York

Chris Hartman, a Warner School of Education alumnus, was nominated by Ulrik Soderstrom, who will receive a dual bachelor’s degree in environmental studies and data science. Soderstrom says that he has been waiting since his freshman year to nominate Hartman for this award because Hartman “intrinsically motivates and empowers students. He simultaneously challenges students to question the world around them, while encouraging the growth of their personal identities and strengths.”

In addition to teaching sustainability, Hartman constructs greenhouses in the back of The Harley School, builds boats with students from diverse backgrounds to help foster understanding among children from different areas of Rochester, and mentors and empowers students by giving them roles in his own local sustainable food company.

“Hartman taught me to put the ‘why’ before the ‘what.’ When I became interested in sustainability, he showed me how to passionately investigate how to do my part with excellence,” Soderstrom writes in his nominating letter. “Hartman takes the initiative to get to know a student and this deeply influences students for the rest of their careers and lives.”

Randall Harper, History, Maine West High School, Des Plaines, Illinois

Randall Harper was nominated by graduating senior Angela Remus. Remus notes in her nominating letter that Harper is “infamous at Maine West High School for demanding the most of his students, especially in his AP European History course.”

Remus says that Harper defined the trajectory of her college career. Because of him, she is earning a bachelor’s degree in international relations and has a passion for human rights, especially related to migration.

Remus’ first class with Harper was called “History of the Western World” and was taught through the lens of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, comparing its ideals to current events happening in the world today. This sparked in her a lifelong passion to end social injustices throughout the world. Harper also presented her with an application to travel to Cambodia and study the Khmer Rouge her junior of high school, an experience she later wrote about for her college admissions essay.

“Were it not for Mr. Harper and the opportunities he facilitated for me, I would likely not have attended the University of Rochester,” Remus says. “I can’t imagine standing where I am today without having had Mr. Harper in my life for the last seven years.”

William Kibler, Academic Decathlon, Cesar Chavez High School, Laveen Village, Arizona

William Kibler was nominated by Jessica He, who says that while Kibler is “obviously over-qualified for his position, he has never considered doing anything else.”

He says she remembers distinctly Kibler once saying that high school is the time when teachers have the most influence on students and that nothing could give him more pleasure than impacting the life of a student.

As the Academic Decathlon teacher, Kibler instructs his students on a vast array of topics, from math, natural sciences and economics to writing, American history, speech and literature, preparing his students to compete against other schools in fierce academic competitions. Despite the limited resources available to his school, Kibler was able to elevate his public high school to rank among the top tier schools in the state, He says.

“Mr. Kibler taught me that anyone has the capacity for knowledge, however, it is up to you to determine what you do with this capacity. He reminded me that I can never ‘finish’ learning, that I should always strive with 100 percent of my effort and always aim higher than I could possibly imagine.”

He is receiving a bachelor’s degree in biomedical engineering from the Hajim School of Engineering & Applied Sciences.

Tags: ,

Category: Student Life