Area educators selected to receive Cameron’s Inspiring Minds - Excellence in Education Award

Cameron University is pleased to announce the recipients of the Inspiring Minds – Excellence in Education Award, which recognizes outstanding high school educational professionals who have had a significant impact on the life of a Cameron University student. Nominations for the honor are made by current, full-time Cameron students. Meribeth Belter, a history teacher at Lawton High School; Charlotte Gagliardi, a former music teacher at Lawton High School who is now assistant principal at MacArthur High School; and Lisa Hill, a mathematics teacher at Empire High School, have been selected to receive the 2011 award. The Inspiring Minds – Excellence in Education Award carries a $500 stipend for each teacher, as well as a $500 donation to each school.

“Meribeth Belter, Charlotte Gagliardi, and Lisa Hill have each made a profound difference in the lives of their students,” says Jamie Glover, Associate Vice President for Enrollment Management. “These three educators are the epitome of what we hope to find in all teachers. Cameron University is privileged to honor them with the Inspiring Minds – Excellence in Education Award.”

Jacob Jardel, a sophomore psychology major, nominated Belter, referring to her as “an exemplary teacher.” He also said, “She did her best to help her students learn and remember the information – not just know it…no matter the subject of the lesson, she found a way to better her students’ understanding. In fact, her students were her main emphasis…Ms. Belter’s concern was her students’ well-being both in and out of the classroom.”

He cited Belter’s “positive influence on my higher education and life in general” by comparing her to his own mother, who is an elementary school teacher. “In a sense, she was like another version of my mother both in and out of the classroom. They genuinely care about their students, do whatever they can for them, and do their best so their students can understand both life and learning.”

She also played a role in his decision to attend college. “As for my higher education aspirations, she was there to assist and support me throughout. When I made my decision to go to Cameron, the opportunity to repay her for that with which she helped me was among my paramount reasons for going.”

“Ms. Belter, to me, was more than just another instructor; she was one of my inspirations…She was, in essence, my mentor, teaching me how to grow, how to live and how to teach myself and others. Most importantly, she was my friend – something I thought o be unheard of going into high school. She was there for me no matter what, and I know she will continue to be there for me.”

Charlotte Gagliardi was nominated by Caleb Marlin, who received his bachelor’s degree from Cameron this spring. As a member of the honors choir at Lawton High, Marlin received instruction from Gagliardi – whom he fondly refers to as “Mama G” – for three years. “My high school career was plagued with a lackadaisical attitude to all of my subjects,” Marlin wrote. “Mama G breathed down my throat when needed to motivate me to do better, but I often ignored her warnings. Mama G knew I wasn’t applying the brain that God had gift me with.”

When Marlin’s parents moved to another state prior to his senior year in high school, he elected to remain in Lawton. “Mama G was my saving grace,” he recalled. “She and her husband, Lenny, took me in…I lived with them the majority of my senior year. Mama G drove me hard and loved me every step of the way. I struggled to find my way, but Mama G was always there with sound advice. By her bidding, I enrolled concurrently at Cameron University. I became a devoted student and excelled at my studies. I left the Gagliardi household devoted to my studies, working hard in the work place, and full of love towards the two of them for all their help.”

Married with one child, Marlin will pursue his Ph.D. at the University of Oklahoma this fall. “All that I have now, I owe to the motivation and drive that I received from Mama G for so many years.”

Jennifer Hunter, a concurrent student who attended Cameron classes during her senior year at Empire High School, nominated Hill, her math teacher for the past three years. She wrote of Hill, “Many of her goals and standards include her high expectations, her positive approach, her ability to teach, and the friendly yet disciplined atmosphere she creates.”

Hunter recognized Hill’s commitment to her students. “She acknowledges that her field of study involves a massive amount of material to be covered, and she works hard to make sure that her classes will be prepared to move on in their academic careers…She is interactive with her students in every class, and this makes her class worth the students’ time and participation…Being in her class taught me what hard work and diligence meant. She also taught me patience and the will to seek out answers when I needed them. Her willingness to help always inspired me to do the same for my peers. The discipline in her classroom creates an attitude that everyone can take beyond the classroom.”

“I believe her positive attitude heavily influenced my approach not only to math, but to all of my schoolwork. I learned the pleasure that comes from gaining knowledge and abilities through hard work and patience. She inspired me to really pursue mathematics in my college career because it was no longer a vast and scary field of study but instead something I could master and love if I took the time to really learn it piece by piece. When I excelled in her class, her pride in me only pushed me further.”

Cameron University congratulates these three deserving educators.

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June 29, 2011

PR# 11-117