Alex McCarthy (’12) and Katelyn Valenti (’12) were  named co-recipients of the Lehner Award for Future Teachers of English.   Katie completed her student teaching semester at Dubuque Senior High School in Spring 2012, and Alex will undertake his student teaching semester in Fall 2012.

In her application for the award, Katie wrote:

Teachers of English, I think, have even more of an opportunity to inspire greatness in their students because they have more ways of getting to know their students. The study of English requires digging inside yourself to discover your own thoughts, emotions, reasons, arguments, opinions, and so forth. In the study of English, we not only study the words and wisdom of those who have gone before us, but even more importantly, we study ourselves—we study our own minds and hearts with the passion of anatomists and the thoroughness of mathematicians. We don’t stop there, though—in English, we share these findings, and we learn how to communicate to others what, exactly, we have found. In the study of English, we learn how to tie ourselves to the world with communication, and how to release ourselves from it with reason. We learn how to say the words that matter, without apology. We learn to write, for those who are living, and for those yet to be born. In the study of English, we learn to dance with our most divine and primal forms, by learning who we have been and who we have become. The study of English teaches us how to be most ourselves through critical thinking, reading, writing, analyzing, and reasoning. I would like to become a teacher of English for all these reasons—to better myself, and to help my students better themselves as well.

Katie also gave high praise to Dr. Andrew Auge, Professor of English at Loras College, for inspiring her as a future teacher.

Alex McCarthy’s application for the award included the following:

English has been a passion of mine as long as I can remember. I remember spending countless hours reading as a child and not wanting to do anything else. I remember writing my own stories and reading them to my Grandmother over the phone as a fourth grader trying to write my own novels on loose leaf paper playing with genre, point of view, and dialogue, not really knowing what I was doing. Some of the oldest, greatest literature has been drama which I have had the great joy to bring to the stage as an actor, performing William Shakespeare, Agatha Christie, and other playwrights who have put their words to the stage. To say English is a passion of mine is a dramatic understatement. The desire for being a teacher of English comes from my desire to help other students who were like me realize their passion as I did, or help students unlike me to understand the power of English to connect in numerous different ways and to leak into every aspect of our society.

Alex likewise credited several high school and college English teachers whom he would like to emulate.

The Lehner Award was first given in 2004. It was established by an anonymous Loras College English alum in honor of Dr. Frank Lehner, who taught at Loras from 1955 through 1985. The award is given to one or two English graduates each year who show special promise as future secondary education teachers of English.



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