LMC fellow honored

Saturday, December 8, 2012
Marzanna Pogorzelska a Polish university professor was recently honored by the president of her country with the Golden Cross of Merit. Pogorzelska is a Lowell Milken Center fellow who visited the city a few weeks ago.(Courtesy Photo)

A few weeks ago, Marzanna Pogorzelska was in Fort Scott, Kan., collaborating with staff at the Lowell Milken Center on projects that celebrate unsung heroes. This week, Pogorzelska was in the Presidential Palace in Warsaw, and this time, she was the one being celebrated.

Pogorzelska was honored with the Golden Cross of Merit Award, which is given to teachers who have "outstanding educational achievements in shaping the civil virtues of the young generation," a news release said.

Anna Komorowska, the first lady of Poland, spoke at the ceremony emphasizing that teachers like Pogorzelska exhibit "the ability to listen to their students, deeply respect them, while teaching them civic responsibilities."

The staff at the Center was excited -- but not surprised -- that another of its fellows had earned a high honor. "The teachers we bring to Fort Scott are the best of the best," center Executive Director Norm Conard said in a news release. "They've already done amazing work when they arrive at the center, and they continue to do that work when they leave. We are very proud of Marzanna and her latest accomplishment."

Pogorzelska teaches in her hometown of Kedzierzyn-Kozle, Poland. She earned a master's degree and Ph.D. from Opole University in Poland in pedagogical sciences. Her work in Holocaust education, social justice and tolerance has been the hallmark of her career. Like the Lowell Milken Center, Pogorzelska incorporates project-based learning into her classroom. The projects her students develop promote understanding and acceptance of all people.

"The celebration was beautiful," Pogorzelska wrote from Poland after the ceremony. "I'm very proud and happy."

Now in its sixth year, the Lowell Milken Center discovers, develops and communicates the stories of unsung heroes who have made a profound and positive difference on the course of history. Through student-driven project-based learning, people throughout America and the world learn that each person has the responsibility and the power to take actions that "repair the world" by improving the lives of others.

These projects take the form of performances, documentaries, websites, and exhibits, and other creative ideas. The center provides support, ranging from project development, to project critiques, primary research, and interview assistance to kindergarten through 12th grade teachers and students. The Lowell Milken Center has reached more than 5,000 students and over 575,000 schools in all 50 states, with involvement growing worldwide. For more information, visit www.lowellmilkencenter.org.

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