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Kennedy Center Names 2018’s Sondheim Inspirational Teachers

Four teachers from across the country were nominated by their students for the award.

WASHINGTON, D.C.: The John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts has announced the winners of the 2018 Kennedy Center/Stephen Sondheim Inspirational Teacher Awards. The awards, which recognize American teachers who are making an impact on their students, was created by the Center in honor of Stephen Sondheim’s 80th birthday in 2010.

“Teachers define us,” said Sondheim in a statement. “In our early years, when we are still being formed, they often see in us more than we see in ourselves, more even than our families see, and as a result help us to evolve into what we ultimately become. Good teachers are touchstones to paths of achieving more than we might have otherwise accomplished, in directions we might not have gone.”

Askia Egashira.

This year’s winners include Catherine Albers of Oregon, Wisc.; Askia Egashira of Brooklyn, N.Y.; Dennis McDavid of Oak Park, Mich.; and Caryn Obert of Staten Island, N.Y. Each of the recipients, who were nominated by a student, will receive a cash prize of $10,000 and will be showcased on a website dedicated to inspirational teachers.

“This award is an incredible opportunity to recognize the passionate and hard work teachers are doing to awaken the joy of learning for their students and communities.” said Mario Rossero, senior vice president of education at the Kennedy Center, in a statement. “Through our national outreach programs within schools across the country, we see firsthand the lasting and immeasurable impact that teachers can have on their students. We are in constant awe of all they achieve.”

Since its inception, the award has presented 75 awards totaling $750,000 with the support of Myrna and Freddie Gershon. The nomination cycle for the 2019 is now open.

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