Five win Kohl Foundation awards

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Staff members Tim Ashe and Jolene Wochenske along with students Denae Brown, Shelby Noble and Andrew Plumb have been named recipients of 2015 Herb Kohl Foundation awards.

Ashe, a special education teacher at Glacier Creek Middle School, and Wochenske, a German teacher at Kromrey Middle School and MHS, were among 102 educators to receive Kohl Fellowship awards. Plumb, a senior at Middleton High School, received a Kohl Excellence Scholarship. Brown, a student in MCPASD's 21st Century eSchool and Noble, who is from Cross Plains and attends Clark Street Community School, received Kohl Initiative Scholarships.

All five District recipients were honored at a banquet at Monona Grove High School on Sunday, April 19.

Wochenske has worked in the District since 2010 and has been teaching German for 14 years. She has served as a trainer in the Goethe Institute network and presents annually at professional world language conferences. She has organized numerous immersion experiences with partner schools in Germany and also set up a pen pal system between high school and middle school students.

"I am humbled,'' she said.

She has also written a book, “Practice Makes Perfect: Basic German.”

Wochenske was nominated by Audrey Loomis, a junior who currently takes German 5 from Wochenske and has previously had her for two other German classes. Loomis’ mother, Katie Loomis-Rogers, also nominated Wochenske.

"I knew winning the Kohl Fellowship Award was a huge honor, but it didn't sink in until the luncheon,'' Ashe said. "To see all the other winners, to hear their accomplishments as their names were called, to listen to Mr. Kohl talk about all the great things the foundation has done for education in the state, it was simply amazing.

"What also made it special, was having my family, the entire Glacier Creek administration team and George Mavroulis there. Every single one of them has played an important roll in my growth as an educator and a person.''

Plumb plans to attend St. Olaf and study biology and health sciences.

"I was ecstatic that I had been choses for such a prestigious award amongst such a talented group of applicants,'' he said. "I was honored to receive this award, knowing that this award was a sign that all the hard work that I have done will pay off in the future.''

The Kohl Foundation honored 102 educators and 162 graduating high school students this year. Each award winner will receive a $3,000 award and their schools will receive a $3,000 grant. The Kohl Foundation Scholarship and Fellowship program was established for former U.S. Senator Herb Kohl in 1990. In recognition of the 25th anniversary this year, Kohl increased the awards from $1,000 to $3,000. The program has handed out more than $9 million to Wisconsin educators, students and schools.

"Education is the key to the future of Wisconsin and our nation,'' Kohl said in a statement. "I am very proud of the accomplishments of these students and teachers, and look forward to the great contributions they will make in the future.''

Fellowship recipients are chosen for their superior ability to inspire a love of learning in their students, their ability to motivate and their leadership and service within and outside the classroom. Recipients are selected by a statewide committee composed of civic leaders and representatives of education-related associations along with the Wisconsin Newspaper Association Foundation, the Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction, the Wisconsin Council of Religious and Independent Schools (WCRIS) and regional Cooperative Educational Service Agencies (CESA), who help sponsor the awards.

Excellence Scholarships recipients have demonstrated excellence in academics and a high motivation to achieve, while also displaying a broad range of activity and leadership outside of the academic setting.

Initiative Scholarship recipients are chosen by their schools and have demonstrated exceptional initiative in the classroom along with showing strong promise toward success in college and beyond. Students who haven't received other academic-based scholarships are eligible.

"I think it is significant that Wisconsin's students, teachers and schools are recognized for their devotion to education and learning,'' WCRIS president Michael Lancaster said in a statement.