BELOIT (WIFR) -- Recipients of the 2013 Herb Kohl Educational Foundation scholarships and fellowships have been selected, including two teachers from Beloit.
Tony Cappoziello, professional educator at Beloit Memorial High School, teaches several hospitality courses, though is mainly known for his work with the culinary arts students. He brings in several businesses to expand students’ skills and knowledge, such as a local farm-to-table restaurant. Students will be able to assist on the farm, learn food production and processing, and potentially find some employment with the businesses in different aspects of that process of food distribution. In addition, Cappoziello has formed a strong partnership with ARAMARK, the district’s contracted food service provider, to employ 10-12 students part-time to develop, cook, and sell various food items at the school’s lounge, the Knight Spot, as well as at several local catering functions.
As important as forming business partnerships is to Cappoziello in providing a more comprehensive hospitality services education, he believes in the development of a genuine partnership with the students. “I try to meet my students ‘in the moment’ and try my best to light a pathway or two for them that, if they choose, they can follow,” he explains of his philosophy. “I also back this up by being accessible to assist them since, again, many lack the home infrastructure to jump start life-changing endeavors.”
Finding the process “as exhilarating as it is exhausting”, Cappoziello explains his love in teaching with a simple statement: “Because I have found a particular and genuine fondness for my students at Beloit Memorial, I find I’m very fortunate that my life as a teacher is truly a ‘life” and not a career.”
Barbara Greyson, is also a professional educator at Beloit Memorial High School, teaching physical and environmental science. Knowing students come into her classroom with a wide variety of experiences that shape how they learn, she employs a varied amount of instructional strategies in each lesson to deepen students’ knowledge of concepts, including active experiments, research, debates, and writing.
Each summer, Greyson commits time to work with her colleagues to write/revise curriculum, which results in her own deeper understanding of essential understanding and skills that students must master. Through professional development and collaboration, these pieces are communicated to her students, combining pre- and post-tests to assess the effectiveness of her lesson plans.
Some of the innovative projects she has developed include the “Sense of Wonder” writing project, in which all students write about a time they had an important connection with nature or science, and then share with their classmates using a medium of their choosing. Such a project draws in other disciplines and inspires students to take on different perspectives of the world around them. She also teaches a new course, Chemistry in the Community, that is designed to build students’ knowledge of key industries in Wisconsin (food production, mining and energy), and understand their potential environmental impact on air, water, and land – exploring the science that ties all of it together. In addition, students learn innovative lab techniques and skills that will help them be more competitive and productive in future career choices.
Greyson also shares her commitment to community service with students. As a Key Club sponsor (student service club), she encourages students to share their unique gifts and talents with the school and greater community, such as working with the Beloit Noon Kiwanis Club, raising money for UNICEF, stream/trail cleanup initiatives for the city, fundraising for the Beloit Domestic Violence Center, and ringing bells for the Salvation Army – just to name a few.
As for her observations of education as a teacher, she is seeing schools offer so much more than in the past, noting that students have greater access to technology, larger selection of courses, teachers with higher levels of education and training, and local partnerships. “Through partnerships with community leaders and businesses, we are seeing the positive impact that more involvement and community among all stakeholders can have on students’ lives, acceptance rates to colleges and technical schools, and in employment rates.” Believing schools are on the right track, she would like to see even more of the classes that focus concurrently on traditional knowledge and skills as well as career-specific skills to provice a context for learning, building confidence, raising student interest and ultimately leading to greater student achievement.
The Kohl Foundation Scholarship and Fellowship program was established by Herb Kohl, U.S. Senator (Retired), in 1990. To date the foundation has awarded $8.2 million to Wisconsin educators, students and schools. “Education is the key to the future of Wisconsin and our nation. I am very proud of the accomplishments of these students and teachers, and look forward to the great contributions they will make in the future,” Kohl said.
Fellowship recipients are chosen for their superior ability to inspire a love of learning in their students, their ability to motivate others, and for their leadership and service within and outside the classroom. Each Fellow receives a $1000 awards, with another $1000 grant (per fellowship) going to their school.