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Dr. Ed Woell, History Conference Coordinator, with Pasquini Award Winner Brian Kennedy

News

Brian Kennedy Wins 2010 Pasquini Award

May 3, 2010

Dr. Greg Hall, History's Director of Graduate Studies and Associate Professor of History, announced that the winner of this year's David P. Pasquini Award is Brian Kennedy. The award was bestowed upon Mr. Kennedy at the 35th Annual History Conference.

The WIU History Department's annual David P. Pasquini Award, now valued at $750, is given each year by the WIU History Department to an outstanding History graduate student who is also a full-time public school teacher. This year's recipient of the Pasquini Award, Brian Kennedy, earned his BA degree in Elementary Education wtih a History concentration from Monmouth College in 2002. Since 2006, he has been the middle school history and social studies teacher at Robein School in East Peoria. In addition to teaching, he has coached girls' softball at Robein and headed the school's Abraham Lincoln Bicentennial Council in 2008-2009.

Brian Kennedy's colleauges and students praise his commitment to teaching and to history. Dr. Kathryn Marx, his Superintendent and Principal, observed that "Mr. Kennedy has developed an excellent rapport with the students, parents, and staff" at Robein. She referred to him as a "role model who assists and cares about" his students -- a "key teacher in the junior high wing" of Robein. One of his 8th-grade students commented that "his students are not just his students -- he cares about us on a personal level and that helps to build a mutual respect between us which translates into a better classroom experience for all of us." He makes creative use of technology in the classroom, in conjunction with projects and hands-on learning, as well as field trips, which "makes learning fun by keeping it interesting."

Brian Kennedy has also been selected to travel this summer with our U.S. Department of Education "Teaching American History" grant's competitively chosen group of "traveling teachers," accompanied by Professor Emeritus Larry Balsamo and Associate Professor Ginny Jelatis, as they travel to historic sites in Philadelphia and Boston. In addition, Mr. Kennedy is a member of the Educational Advisory Board of the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum, and recently received a grant from his Regional Office of Education to complete a web-based oral history project with his 7th and 8th grade students. He began the History M.A. program at Western in Fall 2005, and will graduate in Spring 2010.

The Pasquini Award was established by the WIU History Department in 1996 in memory of Glenbrook South High School (Glenview, Illinois) History teacher, Social Studies Department Chair, and Head Cross-Country Coach David P. Pasquini, who earned both his B.A. in History (1971) and his M.A. in History (1977) from Western Illinois University. When David Pasquini died unexpectedly in 1996, his friends and colleagues chose to honor his memory by establishing the Pasquini Award, which has been given each Spring since 1998 to "a teacher who is pursuing an M.A. degree in History from Western Illinois University and who exemplified David Pasquini's passion for teaching and commitment to history."

Brian Kennedy
joins an illustrious group of past Pasquini Award winners, including Mike Baxter and Travis Brockschmidt (both in 1998), Dan Trenary and Jennifer Robinson (both in 1999), David Potthast (2000), Linda Litterer (2001), Judith Greene (2002), John Kealey (2003), Robert Newman (2004), Andrew Haines (2005), Brian Schmidt (2007), Ben Rees (2008), and Roy Gully (2009).

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