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BW Recognizes Teachers with James Thomas High School Teacher Award

Baldwin Wallace University recently recognized four teachers with the James Thomas High School Teacher Award.  The teachers were nominated by BW graduating seniors.

The award recognizes and celebrates dedicated high school teachers who have inspired and encouraged Baldwin Wallace students while preparing them for the college experience.  The award is funded by BW alumnus and trustee, James Thomas, chairman and CEO of Thomas Properties Group LLC.

Each of the winning teachers received a $1,000 cash award with an additional $1,000 cash award going to the school in the teacher’s name.

(left to right) BW President Richard Durst, BW 2010 graduate Lorrin Pringle, Norwayne High School Teacher Eric Ratica, Principal Douglas Zimmerly and Superintendent Larry Acker.
BW President Dick Durst with Maggie Steffen (center) and BW 2010 graduate Alicia Hoisington. 

The winning teachers and nominating students include:

Eric Ratica of Norwayne High School
(nominated by Lorrin Pringle, a psychology major from Creston, OH)

“I still remember sitting in the band room, wishing my parents would allow me to quit and not wanting anything to do with playing my clarinet any longer.  Those ideas changed because of Mr. Ratica.  The lessons I learned from him still ring true in my mind: remember who you are, remember who you represent, remember who you want to be.  He pushed me to excel far beyond what I thought was possible, and allowed me to realize dreams that were beyond my imagination.”

Margaret Steffen of Medina High School

(nominated by Alicia Hoisington, a theatre major from Medina, OH)

“Mrs. Maggie Steffen, a language arts and theatre teacher, is an essential part of my life.  She encouraged me to write, and by the time I was a senior in high school I was a published playwright with several of my plays being produced in various cities and states.  I know in my heart that none of my success would have been possible without her encouragement and inspiration.  Mrs. Steffen’s teaching philosophy is the epitome of inspiration, encouragement and support.”

Richard Stavar of Perry High School

(nominated by Sara Tackett , an English major from Perry, OH)

“To this day I can hear Mr. Stavar’s voice in my head telling me to strive to do my personal best in every academic situation.  He gave me the confidence I needed to continue improving as a student of English and to be confident in my abilities in all situations.  The greatest lesson I learned from him is to live and learn with integrity.  He is one of the major reasons I have been able to accomplish goals that others would think impossible.”

Suzanne Varley (posthumously), formerly of Fairport Harding High School
(nominated by Rachel Sundberg, a physics major from Concord Township, OH)

Ms. Varley taught English and journalism.  She challenged her students to reach beyond their insecurities in order to accomplish great things both in and out of the classroom. She passed away the summer before my senior year of high school.  Every day she fought a battle with cancer yet she never let the pain or her fear of what was to come slow her down. The courage and the compassion she displayed are her legacy. When I encounter an obstacle that seems too great to overcome, I remember her lessons and her wisdom.”

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