During the 2018 Commencement ceremony, Hobart and William Smith Colleges will honor two teachers with the Touching the Future Award, which recognizes early childhood educators for the significant and enduring role they have played in the lives of graduating seniors. (More coverage on 2018 Commencement can be found here.)
This year two high school English teachers have been selected. Kim Kraner of Avon High School in Avon, Conn., was nominated by her former student Sara Dolan ’18, and Ryan Conway of York Central School in Restof, N.Y. , was nominated by his former student Tyler Fuller ’18.
Established in 2004 by the Hobart and William Smith Colleges Board of Trustees, the Touching the Future Award derives its name from the famous words of Christa McAuliffe, the first teacher selected to participate in the space shuttle program who died in the Space Shuttle Challenger explosion. McAuliffe expressed the sentiments of many teachers when she said, “I touch the future, I teach.”
Dolan, who will graduate magna cum laude in English, will begin teaching language arts at Pine Cobble School in Williamstown, Mass., this fall— a realized dream sparked by Kraner’s influence on her several years ago.
“Mrs. Kraner’s humor, brilliance, creativity and energy made walking into her classroom the highlight of my day, every day. She made Shakespeare plays intense and interactive, old novels relate to our teenage world and made English my favorite subject,” says Dolan, who studied in the Teacher Education Program during her time at HWS. “She was my favorite teacher. I only hope to have the same effect on my students that she had on me.”
The Colleges will also honor Conway, whose encouragement and investment in student success helped prepare Fuller for his studies at New York Medical College this fall. “[Mr. Conway] became a great role model for me. He was supportive, informative and he gave me the confidence to play and work harder to improve my abilities,” says Fuller, who will graduate magna cum laude in biochemistry and Spanish and Hispanic studies. “His class is where I learned to be a critical thinker and writer. I know he has always cared for me and without him I would not be the person I am today.”
Conway holds bachelor’s and master’s degrees in secondary English education from the State University of New York, Brockport. He has taught at York Central School since 2001.
Kraner graduated from Dartmouth College with a B.A. in English literature. She later earned her master’s degree in education from the University of St. Joseph. Prior to entering teaching in 2009, Kraner was a freelance writer and writing tutor.
Graduates will begin the Commencement procession at 10 a.m. on Sunday, May 13. The ceremony will include remarks from senior speakers Almamy Conde ’18 and Quinn Cullum ’18; the presentation of honorary degrees; and a keynote address from John Grotzinger ’79, Sc.D. ’13.
More coverage of the 2018 Commencement can be found here.