West Van teachers receive award from Loran Scholars Foundation

A pair of West Vancouver teachers have been formally recognized for their efforts in helping one of their past students thrive.

Sayeh Yousefi, a 2016 Loran Scholar recipient who was awarded up to $100,000 over four years of her undergraduate studies, recently nominated West Vancouver school district teachers Tara Zielinski and Stefan Huskilson for the Loran Scholars Foundation’s Teachers Building Leaders Award.

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Zielinski and Huskilson taught Yousefi in primary and secondary school when she was a student at West Bay Elementary and West Vancouver Secondary, respectively.

(Zielinski is now the principal of Pauline Johnson Elementary and Huskilson is a teacher at Inglewood Secondary.)

To receive the award, a teacher must be nominated by a former student who became a Loran Scholar – an annual undergraduate scholarship award given to 36 students across the country on the basis of “character, service, and leadership,” according to a press release from the Loran Scholars Foundation.

While the Loran Scholars award dates back to 1988, the foundation’s Teachers Building Leaders Award was introduced in 2014.

It seeks to recognize primary and secondary teachers who provide early “inspiration, guidance and growth opportunities for our scholars,” according to the release.

While the teachers who are nominated for the award are usually then invited to a local certificate presentation alongside the nominating Loran Scholar, the award ceremony has been suspended due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.

This year, 21 teachers across the country – including Zielinski and Huskilson – will receive the Teachers Building Leaders Award.

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