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Eastern Names Winners of MLKing Jr. Awards

Written by Emily Bonoyer

MLK Winners-Lorrius Ward Frazier.JPG

Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Distinguished Service Award winners, left to right, Jordan Lorrius of Stamford; Kim Ward, professor of mathematics at Eastern; and Lynn Frazier, reading and language art teacher at Windham High School.

Willimantic, CT --Eastern Connecticut State University student Jordan Lorrius, Kim Ward, professor of mathematics at Eastern and Lynn Frazier, a Windham High School teacher, were honored on Feb. 24 at Eastern's annual Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Distinguished Service Awards.

            Al Duncan, author of "My Success Journal for Young People" and "Get All Fired Up!" and recipient of the President's Call to Service Award and the National Parent Teacher Association (PTA) Lifetime Achievement Award, was the keynote speaker.

            "Great people are not recognized for what they know; they are recognized for what they do," said Duncan.

            Duncan, also known as the "Millennial Mentor," emphasizes the motto, "You are guaranteed to win once you defeat the enemy within because...it's all mental!"  

In her welcoming remarks, Eastern President Elsa Nuñez urged the audience to lead a "life of conscience," which she described as one of Martin Luther King Jr.'s great lessons. She said that living a life of conscience is being aware of the people around us, making a conscious decision to follow the right path and being aware of the consequences of our actions.

 

            "We honor three people tonight who are conscious of the challenges facing our nation," said Nuñez. "They are conscientious in trying to make a positive difference on this campus and in the community. They do so because their conscience will not allow them to be silent. They will not settle for a society that considers justice to be something of only relative value."     

            Student awardee Jordan Lorrius,  of Stamford, has taken part in student government; helped organize Eastern's first "Day of Giving"; helped to start the student run club "People Helping People"; and is a member of Eastern's "Habitat for Humanity.

            Lorrius also has recieved a "Person to Person Scholarship," which is provided to students who aspire to serve in their communities. He traveled to Serbia over the summer to shoot a documentary feature film about a handicapped girl in order to help fulfill her dream about being a world-recognized painter.

            "Jordan exemplifies a very motivated and conscientious person, and with the talent he embodies, is destined to succeed in his professional career," said David Mariasi, assistant to the financial aid director. "He is definitely a people person, enjoys college and volunteers in the community."

            "Jordan thinks big, has extraordinary energy, charisma and talent," said Eric Martin, associate professor of business administration, in his letter of nomination. "He works hard to overcome stereotypes, looking past superficial differences to see what lies underneath. He has a profound optimism about life and, more importantly, about people. This coupled with his talent, drive and charm, will lead him to do great things. Indeed, this is what makes him a leader."

            Kim Ward, associate professor of mathematics, received the award in the faculty/staff category. She was instrumental in the creation and implementation of the Mathematics Achievement Center (MAC); has worked with the Summer Transition at Eastern Program/Contract Admissions Program (STEP/CAP) for five years; and has served as the program's math coordinator for four years, as well as teaching regularly in the STEP/CAP program.

            Ward's academic interests include mathematical modeling of cancer growth and wound healing. She conducts research on the HIV virus in the African American community, serves as a tutor in public school systems, and engages in numerous community programs, seminars and forums, all designed to forge partnerships that help strengthen the transition from high school to college for underrepresented youth. She has made five presentations regarding research related to developmental mathematics and teaching and actively pursues funding through writing grant proposals designed to support student success.

            "Kim Ward has made it her mission to help Eastern students, who are having trouble achieving their math requirements," said Susan Heyward, director of academic advisement, in her letter of nomination. "Her efforts in designing curriculum and testing procedures to evaluate and support student growth continue to be an enormous contribution."

            Eastern presented the community member award to Lynn Frazier, reading and language arts consultant and teacher, and founder of the Young Poets at Windham High School. "The Young Poets" are a  community group of high school and college students who have used their writing to help overcome obstacles. With the motivation of Frazier, "The Young Poets" have appeared on "Good Morning America"; performed at the Bushnell Theatre and the Nuyorican Poets Café; became finalists and members of the Connecticut State Youth Poetry Slam Team; and published ­"The Streets Hold No Secrets."

            "Lynn's work has surpassed the requirements laid out for her in her job description," said Shawn Lewinson, director of human resources at the Wadsworth Atheneum. "She has created an extended family for these young people, empowering them with a taste of success and allowing them to create new dreams from their tragic realities."

            Frazier received her bachelor of science in elementary education and master of arts in human relations from Eastern, as well as a web design certificate, a reading/language arts consultant certificate and a remedial reading certificate.  

            Frazier's extensive teaching experience includes teaching at local schools such as Horace Porter School, Windham Middle School, Windham Center School, Saint Mary  Saint Joseph School, Natchaug Elementary School and Kramer Middle School.

            Frazier's recent awards include Teacher of the Year 2006-07 at Windham High School and the New England Regional recipient of the Bob Costas Grant for Writing; Freedom Writer Institute Scholarship; and grants from the Connecticut Association of School Flanagan and Connecticut Commission on Culture and Tourism.

 

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