CATESOL Presents Host of Awards to Members, Teachers, Students

Dec 22nd, 2016 | By | Category: Annual, Awards, Conferences
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—In addition to the Sadae Iwataki Award, CATESOL and its levels presented a number of awards at CATESOL 2016. See below for the complete list of winners and sponsors. The CATESOL Education Foundation has also announced a new award for the 2017, the Ron Lee Technology Award. See right-hand column, Inside CATESOL, for details or click here.

Rick Sullivan Stipend


The Rick Sullivan Stipend, presented at the opening plenary, was the first of many awards to be presented during the 2106 CATESOL Annual Conference. The recipient of the CATESOL-sponsored $250 stipend was Ninet Aghasatourian, a graduate student at California Polytechnic Univesity, Pomona working toward a master’s degree in English with an emphasis in TESOL. Ninet has worked as a tutor in the Cal Poly Pomona Writing Center and has experienced teaching English overseas in JinHua, China. She has also been very active as a student member of CATESOL this year, managing the job board at the LA Regional in Cal Poly Pomona and presenting at the mini-conference at San Antonio College hosted by the San Gabriel Valley Chapter. Ninet is enthusiastic about sharing ideas and is eager to continue contributing to the field of English language teaching.

Next year, as a past recipient of the Rick Sullivan Stipend, Ninet will join the committee that will evaluate the applicants for the 2017 Rick Sullivan Stipend. The CATESOL Awards Committee looks forward to working with her and congratulates her once again on receiving this well-deserved award.

Secondary Level Student Essay Contest Award


At the awards ceremony for the Secondary Level’s student writing competition, Sandy Silverstein introduced Xin fei Miao, this year’s recipient and an ESL student at Arcadia High School. Sandy explained the topic of the essay: describing the difficulties faced by a newly arrived immigrant in dealing with a new and different language, school system, and culture.

He mentioned the difficulties that Xin fei struggled with in the conflict between retaining her Chinese heritage while learning how to fit in and to be accepted by the new culture with all of its differences from her native culture.

Sandy then explained how, in her essay, Xin fei wrote poignantly and effectively about her conflicting emotions and how she emerged as a bilingual, biliterate, and bicultural person who became a stronger and more confident person when facing new challenges.

Community College Level


The Community College Level Student Essay Contest was sponsored by Townsend Press. Aracely Muñoz, an ESL student at Oxnard College, won the essay contest and received $200 in novels. The essay prompt asked students to write about an important piece of their culture that they embrace and describe how it has influenced their future. Aracely wrote a wonderfully colorful essay about her favorite place in the world—Jerez, Zacatecas. Her essay evokes a feeling of nostalgia but also expresses gratitude for the place that has given her so much. Great job, Aracely!

The Community College Level Professional Development Scholarship was sponsored by National Geographic Learning. Denise-Maduli Williams was nominated by her colleague and selected as this year’s exemplary instructor, winning a $500 cash prize. Denise has been committed to community college education for more than 20 years. She now works at San Diego Miramar College as a professor of English/ESOL in the credit program. Her passion for educational technology has allowed her to creatively and effectively integrate it in all aspects of her face-to-face and online classes to increase student engagement, facilitate language learning, and build classroom community. She incorporates innovative projects to foster a love for reading and integrates her units with high-interest topics. Denise is also committed to professional development and is very involved in CATESOL, frequently presenting at CATESOL and TESOL conferences. Way to go, Denise!

Adult Level


Angelica Galvan is an ESL student at West Contra Costa Adult Education. Born in Mexico, she and her sister were raised by their young widowed mother, the inspiration for her essay. She immigrated to the US when she was 20 years old. Since her son and daughter started school, she has spent most of her time volunteering at their schools and studying English. She is grateful to her teachers, her husband, and her children for believing in her and supporting her. Angelica is honored to receive the 2016 Cambridge University Press Adult Level Student Essay Writing Award.

Susana Wani is in her second year of teaching at West Contra Costa Adult Education. She teaches two multilevel adult ESL classes at elementary schools in Richmond, California. Teaching is a second career for Susana. She previously worked at California Pacific Medical Center. She has a multiple subject teaching credential and a MA. As a novice teacher, she is grateful to receive the Kareen Kjelstrup Memorial Professional Development Scholarship. She and her award co-winner Karen Lang look forward to sharing the new ideas and techniques they learned at the 2016 CATESOL Annual Conference in San Diego with their WCCAE colleagues.

Karen Lang has been teaching at West Contra Costa Adult Education since 1999. She studied Languages at Sonoma State, Home Economics at San Francisco State, and Education/ESL at Holy Names College and at Berkeley Extension. She loves bringing all her life experience into Life Skills ESL. She enjoys watching the many young children of her adult students in the elementary school where she teaches. Her special areas of interest include distance learning, bringing technology into the lesson, and building community. With Susana Wani, she is honored to receive the Kareen Kjelstrup Memorial Professional Development Scholarship.

CATESOL Adult Level Rap: Awards and Rewards


The Adult Level Rap at our annual conference had both awards and rewards. After watching a video of Angelica Galvan, of West Contra Costa Adult School, reading her award-winning student essay, participants received CATESOL Board and legislative updates. Then the Norma Shapiro Memorial Library Teacher Award was presented by Jayme Adelson-Goldstein to recipient and new Adult Level chair, Inocencia Dacumos, also of West Contra Costa Adult School. Inocencia follows in Norma’s shoes as a teacher, trainer, and leader who encourages both students and teachers and wishes to foster a warm, active community in the classroom and in the Adult Level. Adult Level “rappers” then broke up into small groups to discuss timely topics critical to our level: WIOA/Workforce Development, the new English Language Proficiency Standards, advocacy, instruction for students with limited formal education, and CATESOL services and needs. Adult Level members, look for follow-up documents from the Rap and the Adult Level Workshop to come via level Google group email!

Dave Coleman is past Adult Level chair.


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