Hampton Roads Academy recently announced the three faculty winners of the annual Wythe W. & Mary A. Holt Faculty Award, an annual endowment award presented to select faculty members pursuing further learning opportunities to enhance their classroom teaching.
Wythe W. Holt was a founding member of HRA and the Wythe W. & Mary Holt Endowment was established by Mary A. Holt upon her death. This year’s winners are Maribel Gendreau, Elizabeth Hollingsworth and Karen Waddill.
Gendreau and Hollingsworth, both of whom are Upper School Science faculty members, will use the grant to begin a joint research project that will explore “the electrical activity of nerves located in the legs of cockroaches and how various manipulations alter these responses.”
Research from the project will be used to advance project-based learning with Upper School students at HRA.
“We are planning to use this experimental design in our science classes, such as Anatomy, Physiology and Forensic Science,” Hollingsworth said. “This tool will be valuable for many Upper School students, giving them the opportunity to perform self-designed science experiments in the high school classroom in the field of neuroscience. In general, most high school students are not able to explore this field until they enter college.”
Waddill, who is a Middle and Upper School French faculty member, plans to visit the Arab World Institute in Paris this summer to learn first-hand about Arabic culture in France. While there she hopes to participate in conferences, lectures, theater performances and visits to museums.
“I would like to promote the beauty of the Arab culture and language(s) and to help my students better understand their historical and cultural significance,” Waddill said. “I am very proud that I work at a school that offers the opportunity to learn in a setting outside of our own classrooms.”
Headmaster Peter W. Mertz believes that the Wythe W. & Mary A. Holt award will continue to inspire faculty at Hampton Roads Academy.
“One of our strengths as an academic institution of learning comes from the critical thinking of many of our exceptional faculty and staff,” Mertz said. “The Wythe & Mary Holt Faculty award continues to allow our faculty to broaden their skill sets and impart invaluable knowledge to the students here at HRA.”