Yale Admissions celebrates 10 years of recognizing educators

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Last Monday 83 teachers and counselors from around the world received the news that they have been recognized with a Yale Educator Award, an honor given by the Yale Office of Undergraduate Admissions.  Winners received an engraved desk set with a note of congratulations, and Yale notified every winner’s school principal about the award and provided a press release to help share the news with their school community. 

Every summer for the past 10 years, the Yale Office of Undergraduate Admissions has presented the Yale Educator Award to teachers and counselors who “supported and inspired their students to achieve at high levels.” Incoming freshmen are asked to nominate a teacher and/or counselor who had been instrumental in their educational success.  This year’s award recipients were selected from a record pool of 326 teachers and counselors who represented 33 states and 24 countries.

“The Yale Educator Award is a small gesture that provides important recognition to a few of the countless educators who work tirelessly on behalf of all their students,” said Dean of Undergraduate Admissions Jeremiah Quinlan, who created the Yale Educator Award program in 2006 while serving as director of outreach and recruitment.

Quinlan noted that teachers and counselors provide valuable insights about all applicants to Yale College through their letters of recommendation. “Letters from educators who know our applicants well can tell us a great deal about how students think and learn, how they contribute to a community, and what they add to a classroom,” Quinlan said. “The Yale Admissions Committee is immensely grateful to the tens of thousands of educators who put time and thought into their recommendation letters every year. We pay careful attention to every letter and find them indispensable in our evaluation process.”

In the past 10 years 787 teachers and counselors have received a Yale Educator award. Many schools and communities around the world have celebrated their award recipients with special announcements, news stories, and public recognition.

In 2014 Ethan Young, now a Yale junior, nominated his high school English teacher Lindsay Smith and his school counselor Susan Bolinger from Farragut High School in Knoxville Tennessee. “The Yale Educator Award was a much-needed opportunity to directly thank teachers and advisors for the role they played in my formation as a young person,” he said. When both Bolinger and Smith received the award, the local school board recognized them with a county-wide announcement, and the pair were profiled in the local newspaper.

Reflecting on the impact these educators had on him, Young said, “Mrs. Bolinger showed consistent interest in my success and provided many hours of guidance throughout my college search process, including my decision to apply to Yale. Mrs. Smith was the educator who inculcated my love for writing, a love that led me into my academic major and still influences my long-term career goals.” During one of Young’s recent visits back to Farragut High School, Bolinger told him that she keeps the award on her desk and uses the pen when signing college recommendation letters.     

Since the program began, Yale has recognized educators who work in more than 600 high schools in 48 states and 47 foreign countries on 6 continents.

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