KDSS teacher Carrie Wilson honoured with award from Queen's University



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Kincardine District Secondary School teacher Carrie Wilson (holding plaque), receives the 2014 Baillie Award for Excellence in Secondary School Teaching, at the Queen's University convocation, June 5, from principal Daniel Woolf (R), a student engineering representative (L) and Chancellor David Dodge
photos courtesy of Carrie Wilson

Kincardine District Secondary School teacher Carrie Wilson was honoured with the 2014 Baillie Award for Excellence in Secondary School Teaching, at the Queen's University convocation, June 5.

Wilson was nominated by former student, Ramona Neferu, who graduated that day with a Bachelor of Science (BSc.) in Engineering Chemistry.

The award was established by Queen's Chancellor Emeritus Charles Baillie, O.C., to enable students graduating from Queen’s to honour high school educators who had a positive and formative influence, setting them on a course of higher learning.

In nominating Wilson for the award, Neferu said she has known Wilson since 2007 and over the following two years as a student in her senior chemistry courses, Neferu came to appreciate and admire her as a teacher and mentor.

"She made me passionate about chemistry, and I feel that her guidance and mentorship honed my work ethic to be competitive and successful in my university career," writes Neferu. 

"Without her inspiration and dedication, I would likely not have pursued my studies in Engineering Chemistry at Queen’s University, which opened up new opportunities such as receiving the Chancellor’s scholarship and NSERC chemistry research award, studying Medicinal Chemistry at the University of St. Andrews in my year abroad, and graduating with my Engineering Chemistry degree this June."

Neferu states that her respect for Wilson grew when Wilson consistently stayed after class to answer more complicated questions for motivated students. 

"On the rare occasion that she did not have all the information to solve a more complex problem, she always presented a working solution the following day. There were times when she must have spent countless hours at night searching for a correct approach to some problems. She demonstrated that she is accountable and dependable, and this motivated me to mirror her professionalism and passion for chemistry as a student."

Neferu states that Wilson was the first teacher in KDSS's history to offer the College Board’s Advanced Placement Chemistry course to a class of only three interested students, Neferu included. 

"This course is the equivalent of a university chemistry course and culminated in a final exam at the end of each school year. Not only did she have to become re-acquainted with more complex concepts to be able to teach them well, but she also taught this new course after regular class hours on a completely voluntary basis. 

"Her passion for stimulating the love of learning in her students was evident and inspiring. Her dedication to her students reached beyond the classroom; she encouraged me to pursue summer enrichment programs in science and engineering. 

"She noticed my passion for scientific inquiry early on, and spurred me on to apply to the competitive summer program for high school students at the Deep River Science Academy. There, I was able to complete a research project on drug delivery in a biophysics laboratory of the National Research Council, where I used my knowledge of chemistry, learned in her classroom, to make connections between physics and biology concepts."

Neferu states that Wilson has always motivated her students to apply their knowledge and make connections to other subjects whenever possible. 

"After my summer research experience, she advised me to explore the field of chemical engineering and its applications, to be able to compare the research and industry sectors. This first-hand comparison later helped me enormously in myapplications to various undergraduate programs of study."

Neferu was selected for the month-long Shad Valley program at Queen’s University, where she was exposed to the fields of engineering and business through team-based design activities and informative lectures. 

She also had the opportunity to receive an internship at the Bruce Power nuclear station in the Chemistry Programs department, as well as part-time employment at a local pharmacy for three years, where she saw first-hand how the chemistry she learned in Wilson’s classroom was used in the real world.

"Most of all, Mrs. Wilson is a kind, caring, and compassionate teacher whose interest in her students’ work and life balance make her approachable as a role model and mentor," writes Neferu. "The intrinsic nature of living in a small town allows for students and teachers to frequently cross paths with each other after school in other settings. It is refreshing to see her interacting with her family and taking time for herself amid the busy work schedule as a curriculum leader and teacher in the high school science department. 

"She helps foster a collegiate atmosphere and is highly respected by her colleagues. These are qualities that I admire, as finding ways to re-energize and de-stress while being respected by peers and professors as a dependable, hardworking individual, has been extremely important as an Engineering Chemistry student.

"As a teaching assistant, I have looked to Mrs. Wilson’s teaching approach for inspiration on how to connect with students while showing both compassion and professionalism. I’ve also spoken at my high school to students interested in the sciences. The aim was to motivate them to be proactive with their extracurricular opportunities and applying to enrichment programs, just like Mrs. Wilson encouraged me to get involved and to be a lifelong learner.


KDSS teacher Carrie Wilson (L) is reunited with former student Ramona Neferu who nominated her for the Baillie Award for Excellence in Secondary School Teaching; Wilson received the award at the Queen's University convocation June 5

KDSS teacher Carrie Wilson (L) and Queen's University graduate, and KDSS graduate, Ramona Neferu with the 2014 Baillie Award

"I am extremely grateful for Mrs. Wilson’s guidance and inspiration in my secondary studies and beyond, and sincerely hope that her efforts as a teacher and mentor will be rewarded by being awarded the 2014 Baillie Award for Excellence in Secondary School Teaching."

Wilson attended the convocation at Queen's University where she was reunited with Neferu and received the Baillie Award.

"I feel honoured and grateful to Ramona for taking the time to nominate me," says Wilson. "It is very rewarding to know that former students valued their high school education and are excelling in their respective fields.

"It was a pleasure to teach Ramona. She always put a great deal of effort into learning the material and wanted to learn as much as possible about each subject she took. She is an outstanding student who is attending medical school at Western University in the fall.

"I am grateful to know that universities do care about what we do in high school classrooms and that in Kincardine, we have a dedicated staff and a great student body that make teaching a pleasure."

Neferu has graduated with first-class honours in BSc. Engineering Chemistry at Queen's University, and will be starting her studies in the Doctor of Medicine program at Western University (the Schulich School of Medicine and Dentistry) this September.

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Friday, June 13, 2014