As Newtown High School social studies teacher David Foss was just starting one of the afternoon class periods on Tuesday, May 7, a few visitors and colleagues interrupted his lesson plans.
Central Connecticut State University Professor of History Matt Warshauer and Central Connecticut University Assistant Professor John Tully, who is also the president of the Connecticut Council for Social Studies, visited the school on Tuesday to surprise Mr Foss with the John H. Stedman Passion for the Social Studies Teaching Award.
Unbeknownst to Mr Foss, one of his students, Sarah Clements, had nominated him for the award in a letter to Dr Warshauer. Only students can nominate a teacher for the John H. Stedman Passion for the Social Studies Teaching Award, according to Dr Warshauer.
This year, among the dozens of applications, Dr Warshauer found Sarah’s two -and-a-half page, single-spaced letter describing why she felt Mr Foss deserved the award. Dr Warshauer said it was a “very articulate letter.”
The John H. Stedman Passion for the Social Studies Teaching Award is in its sixth year, and recognizes teachers who make a difference both in their students’ educational careers and to their lives.
Dr Warshauer said Sarah’s letter described Mr Foss’s unparalleled dedication.
Following Sarah’s letter, Mr Foss was chosen by teachers from around the state to receive the award.
Mr Foss has also been invited to attend an awards dinner for the Connecticut Historical Society in Hartford.
“Thank you so much,” Mr Foss said, before a classroom of his students, including Sarah. “This is such an honor.”