Northern Illinois University

NIU Office of Public Affairs

News Release

Contact: Lucy Townsend, Blackwell History of Education Museum
(815) 753-1236

May 9, 2007

Blackwell History of Education Museum honors
trio of teachers influential in lives of students

DeKalb — Three local teachers were honored recently by Northern Illinois University’s Blackwell History of Education Museum for providing important influences for their students.

Two NIU professors – Lorraine Schmall from the College of Law and Abhijit Gupta from the College of Engineering and Engineering Technology – joined Walter A. Farley, a teacher and coach in Sandwich, at the Saturday, April 28, ceremony.

Students of the teachers submitted letters describing their important influence. 

Rachel Amanda Teresa Conradt-Adams commended Schmall for her “wealth of humor, opinions and charisma.” Schmall also champions unpopular causes, speaks her mind and refuses to act subordinately, Conradt-Adams added.

“She can break down very complex bureaucratic technicalities into smaller chunks of information that students can more easily recall,” she wrote.

Alicia Kuhn commended Farley, her sixth-grade teacher, for his generous spirit and high standards.

Kuhn recalled a 15-mile bike trip her teacher and coach took with his students each summer. Once the bikers achieved their goal, Farley served a “scrumptious lunch” he had packed on his back.

“He has the special talent that it takes to encourage everyone around him,” Kuhn wrote, “to want to keep trying, to never give up, to reach for the things we think to be impossible.”

Manoj Kumar Bada Ghar Wala honored Gupta, his mechanical engineering professor, for building “so much confidence and self belief” in his students. He also praised Gupta for ensuring that his students kept up with the latest technological innovations and prepared them well for employment opportunities.

“The confidence and learning power which were hidden in me came out because of him,” Wala wrote.

Sandwich high school students Kelsey Baker, Kaitlyn Thomas, Hayley Claxton and Torri Ruppert sang “You Raise Me Up” in honor of the teachers. Sarah Ellis, also a Sandwich high school student, played two flute solos.

After the ceremony, Constance Hanson, assistant curator of the museum, invited guests to view 15 paintings of DeKalb County one-room schools by students in the Batavia public schools.

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