Submitted by Evanston Township High School
Evanston Township High School teacher Michael Van Krey will be honored at Northwestern University’s 165th Commencement Ceremony on June 12 with a Morton Schapiro Distinguished Secondary School Teacher Award. Van Krey has been a teacher of Japanese in the ETHS World Languages and Bilingual Department since 1997.
The award is named after Schapiro, the 16th president of Northwestern University. It is given annually to five teachers around the world based on nominations submitted by graduating Northwestern seniors. The award honors and recognizes their professional and personal commitment to students, as well as their transformative power in everyone’s lives and communities.
Van Krey was nominated by ETHS alum Liam O’Carroll (‘19). Van Krey was O’Carroll’s Japanese teacher for four years at ETHS, where he helped hone his language skills inside the classroom and out, including on a school trip to Japan in 2018. O’Carroll is graduating in June with a degree in engineering from Northwestern.
“I am so appreciative of Liam taking the time to reflect on what he found meaningful and important to his development during high school, and am thrilled to know I was a part of those experiences that lead Liam to where he is now,” said Van Krey. “Though Japanese isn’t what he pursued at Northwestern, it speaks to what I have come to learn – namely that our brains are incredibly complex with a near infinite capacity for learning, discovery, innovation and problem-solving.
“We create patterns and meaning, derive emotions, make connections, seek and create beauty from everyday experiences. When we exercise our brains, we create pathways and capabilities that are often untraceable to the source,” Van Krey added. “I teach Japanese not only to hone students’ practical skill of developing multilingualism, but perhaps more importantly, to apply this battery of cognitive tools to realms far beyond the study of a world language.”
The Morton Schapiro Award is sponsored by Northwestern University’s Office of the President with cooperation from the School of Education and Social Policy and supported by the Associated Student Government. For more information, visit the Northwestern University website.