On Tuesday, April 18, students and teachers gathered together in Asplundh Concert Hall to honor the Pennsylvania Teacher of the Year and celebrate the accomplishments of other students on Teacher Education Day.Barbara Mason Benglian, a former West Chester University Distinguished Alumni recipient, District Music Supervisor, Vocal Choral Director and Music Program Coordinator at Upper Darby High School, was honored with the 2006 Pennsylvania Teacher of the Year Award. Benglian graduated from West Chester University in 1970 with a degree in music education and received her masters from West Chester in 1973. She entered the teaching world after this and has served at Upper Darby High School, the largest high school in Pennsylvania.
Through Benglian’s direction, her students have performed at such places as the Kimmel Center and the Academy of Music, among others. She accepted her award for Pennsylvania Teacher of the Year and offered words of encouragement to current education students.
“Music is my vehicle in teaching to prepare students for life long essentials,” said Benglian. She gave her own words of advice to them and concluded by saying, “Great teaching is great leading. Our kids need heroes in a world where none are visible. You will make a difference in their lives and they shall not forget you.”
Benglian was also honored with special commendation from Governor Ed Rendell and a plaque with words of gratitude for all she has done as a teacher.
Following Benglian’s award were many others to honor students for their hard work throughout school. The Terrie Ozelis Early Childhood Scholarship was given in memory of Dr. Ozelis, a faculty member of the Department of Early Childhood and Special Education, to Marisa Giancaterino. Michael Lieberman, the owner of Dynamic Bookstore also gave an award in memory of Terrie Ozelis to two students, Meghan McIntyre and Rebekah Mauldin.
Other scholarships included the Harold W. Benda Memorial Scholarship, given in memory of Dr. Harold Benda to the education major with the highest grade point average. The recipients of the award were Tiffany Bidwell, Angela Giacomelli and Debra McManus.
Faculty members were honored through the E. Riley Holman Creativity Award that honors College of Education faculty who are currently working on projects to benefit West Chester students. Dr. Chris Penny and Dr. Donna Sanderson received this award for their work.
Kristin Haegele, a graduate of the College of Education, received the Michael F. Bannon Scholarship for continuing her education by pursuing her masters and “evidence of outstanding scholarship, leadership and professional commitment.” Two students pursuing a degree in Secondary Education were also honored with the John Gontar ’32 Scholarship and the Margaret Gontar ’32 Scholarship. Joshua Davis and William Velazquez were the recipients of these two awards for their academic accomplishments.
To conclude the event, 50 students were honored for their “academic prowess, pedagogical skill, and potential for leadership in the profession.” The entire ceremony gave recognition to students, graduates and faculty who are actively taking part in the College of Education and have a passion for teaching.