One of the best testaments to the lasting influence Harker teachers have on their students is the Outstanding Educator Awards. This year, four Harker teachers were nominated by students of the class of 2011.
In mid-September, the University of Chicago sent Alexandra Rosenboom, an English teacher at the upper school, a letter informing her she’d been named an Outstanding Educator after being nominated by her former student Kristie Sanchez. The University of Chicago sends an email to all freshmen asking them to help the school recognize high school educators who have made a difference.
Sanchez had a difficult time picking just one Harker teacher to nominate. “I had so many inspirational teachers during my time at Harker that I almost refrained from submitting a nomination all together,” she says. “I ultimately chose Mrs. Rosenboom because her 20th Century American Poetry and Poetics class completely transformed my view of poetry as a whole and helped me to discover a poet within myself.”
Stanford University has a similar program in place. Each year, it reaches out to its incoming freshman class asking if there have been any exceptional educators who influenced them. Three Harker class of 2011 graduates now attending Stanford responded enthusiastically.
Anthony Silk, an upper school mathematics teacher, was nominated by two of his former students – Isaac Madan and Gautam Krishnamurthi – for his influence on their high school education.
So, too, was Anita Chetty, an upper school biology teacher nominated by her student Josephine Chen.
Adam Perelman nominated his former mathematics teacher Victor Adler. “I nominated Dr. Adler because he truly cares about all his students, not only as math students but also as people. He always goes the extra mile, from helping us out on tough problems, to getting up early for practice for a synchronized swimming competition, to hosting difficult but important conversations in his classroom, and is at once teacher and friend,” Perelman said.
Sanchez noted, “A hallmark of a great educator is being able to inspire passion. Mrs. Rosenboom was able to do so in me.” Many other Harker teachers have also inspired this kind of passion, and graduating students are able to bring that feeling from high school to their colleges and universities.