2013 Alumni Teacher Award

Harpreet Dhillon

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Harpreet Dhillon, a grade six teacher at Surrey’s Cindrich Elementary School, has been named winner of the 2013 UBC Faculty of Education Alumni Teacher Award for her work in bringing social responsibility to her students and the greater student body of Cindrich.

The UBC Faculty of Education presents this award to celebrate the outstanding achievements of its alumni, who as teachers, are making exceptional impacts in the lives of their students and learning communities. Dhillon is being recognized for her ability to create positive social change. With a lead-by-example approach, she has inspired many students to get involved in activities to support their local communities and those around the world.

“The alumni of UBC are our greatest resource and source of pride and Harpreet exemplifies this with her extraordinary capacity to make a difference in the lives of others and her ability to inspire her students to do the same,” says Dean Blye Frank.

Dhillon established the WE team at Cindrich over four years ago and students now help communities in need both locally and around the world. The WE team is part of We Act (formerly We Schools in Action), a comprehensive service learning program that empowers a generation to care about local and global issues. The Cindrich WE Team consists of 20 kids in Grades 6 & 7 who learn to they have a voice, the power of giving and its impact, and that they can and do make a difference.

The Surrey Food Bank recently recognized Dhillon’s leadership when Cindrich Elementary won the Top Fundraising School in 2012 and the Surrey-North Delta Leader newspaper celebrated her with the Community Leader Award of Top Honour Teacher in 2012.

She believes that children have much to offer as members of community. She strives to fulfill the philosophy of one her favourite quotes from Margaret Mead found on her classroom wall, “Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it’s the only thing that ever has.”

Dhillon was humbled by winning this year’s award. “I feel validated that what I say and teach my kids is making a difference, that my students feel empowered to create change in the community and that I have won the respect of my talented colleagues—that is the greatest achievement of all.”

Dhillon, who completed the UBC Bachelor of Education program in 2000 followed by additional training in art education, was selected from over 30 nominees to receive this award, which is only in its second year.

The UBC Alumni Teacher Award annually grants $1,000 to the winning teacher and an honorarium of $1,000 to the recipient’s school for enrichment activities, programs, or development.

A ceremony to present this award and the honorarium to the school was held at Cindrich Elementary School on Thursday, May 16 during a school assembly.

Celebrating Alumni Teacher Nominees for 2013

The Faculty of Education is honoured by the quality and quantity of nominations it receives for the annual Alumni Teacher Award. With over 30 outstanding teachers nominated in 2013, selecting a single winner is a challenging feat for the selection committee. The Faculty thanks everyone who put forward a nomination and congratulates all those nominated. For 2013, we would like to highlight the teachers who were among the final candidates for the award and dedicate an Honourable Mention for their respective achievements.

Irene Cultum, Charles Dickens Annex Elementary School, Vancouver, BC
Megan Dobbs, Okanagan Mission Secondary School, Kelowna, BC
Fred Harwood, Hugh McRoberts Secondary School, Richmond, BC
Kim Leary, Britannia Secondary School, Vancouver, BC
Eugene Minn, Windsor Secondary School, North Vancouver BC
Scott Ormiston, District Aboriginal Resource Teacher