TU honors outstanding high school teachers

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

The University of Tulsa honored three high school teachers May 9 with its Secondary School Teacher Prize for Inspiration during TU's spring commencement ceremonies.

The award recognizes secondary school teachers who have contributed significantly to the intellectual and personal growth of a TU graduating senior.

The recipients of the Secondary School Teacher Prize for Inspiration for 2008–2009 are the following:

  • Amanda Bader, English and world history teacher at Rio Rancho High School in Rio Rancho, New Mexico;
  • Louis M. Mascolo, chemistry teacher at Humble High School in Humble, Texas;
  • and Jennifer Tushla-Sanchez, American history and American government teacher at Sonora High School in La Habra, California.

Teachers, who are nominated by TU students, receive a cash prize of $2,000, and $1,000 is awarded to the teacher’s high school to be used in a way the teacher specifies.

Bader, who began teaching with the Rio Rancho Public Schools in August 2000, has a reputation for eliciting excellence from her students. Amanda Aragon, a senior international business and language major, recalls that Bader turned a lackluster student council leadership class around.

“By holding us accountable, Mrs. Bader began to transform the class into more of a learning environment,” Aragon said. “The class evolved into something better, and student council began to function and run more smoothly.”

Mascolo has been inspiring his students both in and out of the classroom for 20 years as a teacher, mentor and club sponsor. As coach of the Math and Science Club at Humble High, his dedication to his students and his fundraising ability made it possible for students to travel to state and national competitions at minimal cost.

“Mr. Mascolo and the Math and Science Club taught me how to work hard for a goal and his encouragement made me realize I was cable of much more than I thought possible,” said Alex Burch, a senior economics major and winner of a Fulbright Scholarship.

Tushla-Sanchez encourages creativity both in and out of the classroom, creating a classroom that is a fun place to learn. Her mentorship in various campus organizations teaches valuable life skills to her students.

Susan Bley Radvansky, a senior mechanical engineering major, recalls how Tushla-Sanchez guided her in planning a complex school event — the Girls League’s Winter Formal — that involved managing a budget, planning and delegating responsibilities.

“The skills I learned under Mrs. Tushla-Sanchez’s direction have benefited my college projects where working in groups with budgets and deadlines is crucial,” Radvansky said.

For more information about TU spring commencement activities, visit www.utulsa.edu/commencement.

David Hamby