Each year, the University of Chicago gives newly admitted students across the country the opportunity to nominate a teacher from their high school for the University of Chicago’s Outstanding Educator Award. According to the University of Chicago, outstanding educators are described as teachers who change lives, care deeply about their students, and have an infectious love for learning. This year, UChicago recognizes three teachers from The Hun School of Princeton.
Mrs. Wright, chair of the Computer Science and Engineering department, nominated by Mei von Kaenel ’21. Mr. Bucy, faculty in the English department, nominated by Pedro Poli ’21, and Mr. Michalchuk, faculty in the Performing Arts department, nominated by William Hu ’21.
When the three teachers learned of their newest accolade, not only were they surprised but they all shared the same sentiment: receiving recognition from a student for their work is profoundly rewarding. .
Mrs. Wright notes that receiving this award is something she will cherish forever: “This is the greatest honor I have ever received in my twenty-one years in the classroom,” she said. “It is one thing for your peers and supervisors to recognize your abilities, but to learn of the impact that I had on a student’s experience and the path beyond is so humbling.”
Mr. Bucy explains that this type of validation is exactly what he needed after teaching through a pandemic and a year and a half of virtual school.
“Last year was so difficult, there were so many days where it was so hard and some things felt like they just weren’t working,” he said. “But knowing that what I was doing actually was working and it left enough of an impression on Pedro to actually nominate me for this is truly so meaningful. It’s far more meaningful than any other type of recognition a teacher could get.”
As William’s teacher since he attended the Hun Middle School, Mr. Michalchuk notes that he is flattered that William was paying attention all of those years to his teaching pedagogy.
“I always try to create a classroom environment that is relaxed and where students feel comfortable to be excited about their passion for music,” he said. “Over the years, I’ve been able to witness first hand William’s growth as a student and as a performer. Over the years, we spent a lot of time together practicing, sharing new music, and creating. I’m really grateful to have had a student like him and I am so flattered that he considers me an outstanding educator.”