Celebrating Excellence Highlights William Smith Student Achievement – Hobart and William Smith Colleges \
The HWS Update

Celebrating Excellence Highlights William Smith Student Achievement

Teacher and former Peace Corps Volunteer Shanelle France ’11 to offer keynote address.

Shanelle France ’11 will be the keynote speaker at this year’s Celebrating Excellence event on Thursday, Feb. 17 at 6 p.m. The annual event will highlight the achievements of William Smith students, induct the newest members of the Laurel Honor Society, and honor the College’s heritage. France’s speech will center on the theme of Composing a Life. Register Here for the Zoom event.

“We are excited to have Shanelle share her story while honoring our current exceptional students,” says William Smith Dean Lisa Kaenzig P’22. “William Smith students are reaching new heights academically, breaking records on our athletic teams, and leading innovative programs within the HWS and Geneva communities. It is our pleasure to recognize and congratulate their achievements each year.”

At William Smith, France studied Africana Studies, Education and Women’s Studies. During her time as an undergraduate, she frequently volunteered with programs like America Reads and the Boys and Girls Club and she studied abroad in Cape Town, South Africa. Building on her commitment to community engagement and global citizenship, France went on to serve as a volunteer in the Peace Corps in Lesotho.

After returning to the U.S., she earned a master’s in education for secondary special education and transition services at George Washington University. She then stayed in Washington, D.C. while working as a teacher and assistant principal at a public charter school. In 2019, France returned to Geneva, N.Y., where she taught at Geneva Middle School for two years. Now, she lives in Boulder, Colo. and works as a special education teacher.

The William Smith tradition will also include remarks by William Smith Assistant Dean Kelly Payne who is advisor for the Classes of 2022 and 2024 and oversees the Laurel Honor Society.