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April 23, 2014 — Breanne Walker, a senior in the elementary education program at the University of Wyoming at Casper (UW-Casper), recently was awarded the Sue Jorgensen Excellent Student in Education award.
The 18th recipient of the honor, Walker received scholarship funding from John Jorgensen, husband of the late educator whom the award memorializes. The fund was matched by the Board of Cooperative Educational Services (BOCES).
Jorgensen created the award in 1996, honoring UW-Casper education students who earn a minimum 3.5 grade point average; exhibit professional disposition toward mentors and peers; contribute to the education field through leadership and community service; and display a positive attitude to promote excitement and curiosity about learning. Walker was nominated and unanimously selected by UW-Casper’s education faculty and staff.
The distinction is one of UW-Casper’s highest honors bestowed upon prospective teachers. It was established by Jorgensen to pay tribute to the memory of his wife, Sue Jorgensen, the first coordinator of the teacher education program through UW-Casper.
“Sue was a tremendous advocate for students who wanted to get an education,” Jorgensen said at the recent award ceremony. “Some students thought they could sign a tuition check and get a degree, but she made them work. And now that program has grown; it’s a strong program.”
Brent Pickett, associate dean and director of UW-Casper, acknowledged the special role that Sue played in education and leadership. He also spoke of the role of others in furthering educational opportunities in the Casper area.
“We deeply appreciate John and his support to UW-Casper students in education, as well as BOCES, who has helped to support our elementary education program in the past, and who is now assisting our secondary education programs.”
Walker says she was inspired to teach when, at the age of 16, she volunteered at a camp for children with special needs.
“My mother was a teacher and, when I was growing up, I would see all the work she had to do and decided I didn’t want to do that,” she says. “But during the camp, where I volunteered, I realized that’s what I wanted to do.”
Walker will graduate from UW-Casper with a bachelor’s degree in May, and hopes to teach in the Natrona County School District. Her goal is to earn a master’s degree in special education.
Breanne Walker received the Sue Jorgensen Excellent Student in Education award. (UW-Casper)