New teachers award rewards excellence

22 August 2005

Good teachers are worth their weight in gold. Who doesn't remember being inspired by at least one school teacher? Perhaps it was the lanky history teacher who used the simple resource of a daily newspaper to demonstrate and discuss history-in-the-making, bringing the subject alive. Or the teacher who put in more than her hours required when exams loomed? Invariably, these educators instilled in their young charges the curiosity and interest that shaped their love of learning - and even later careers. The new Stella Clark Teachers Award sets out to reward such gems.

Clark was a language development lecturer in the Academic Development Programme in the Centre for Higher Education Development (Ched) from 1996 until her death earlier this year. She was a dedicated teacher, working with students from disadvantaged communities in working-class schools on the Cape Flats and at UCT.

Keen to commemorate her legacy, Clark's husband, Associate Professor Kevin Naidoo and their children, Jesse and Eamon, have established the Stella Clark Teachers Award, the product of donations from family, friends and colleagues in South Africa, the United Kingdom, the United States and Japan.

Importantly, the award honours the work of the many unrecognised teachers who go beyond the call of duty to provide excellent education in difficult circumstances.

The award requires registered UCT students to nominate Western Cape secondary school teachers who have helped make it possible for them to come to UCT. Students may want to nominate someone who inspired them to pursue a particular path of study, or stimulated an interest in a new intellectual field.

Perhaps that teacher made sure their students were equipped to go beyond matric. They may have been a role model or mentored students to achieve results beyond their own expectations. Students may also make joint nominations.

The Stella Clark Award will be presented annually, starting this year. The winner will receive a monetary award and will be asked to deliver a short lecture at an award ceremony at UCT later this year.

If you'd like more information, please contact Kathy Erasmus at Ched, Dean's Suite, 6th floor Hlanganani Building, North Lane, on the upper campus. Or you can e-mail her at Nominations close on October 31, 2005. Students please note that you do not have to contact your nominee at this stage.

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