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Norwin teachers garner St. Vincent honors

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By Jennifer Fitzgerald
Friday, Jan. 20, 2012

Two Norwin High School teachers were among 45 educators nationwide who received St. Vincent College's Great Teacher Award.

Robert Traugh and Angela Knipple were nominated by two of their former students who now are freshmen at the college, located in Unity near Latrobe. Traugh is the director of the marching band, and Knipple is a geometry and calculus teacher.

Established to honor exceptional secondary educators throughout the country, the Great Teacher Recognition Program at Saint Vincent asks members of its freshman class to nominate a teacher who had a positive impact on their lives. It is awarded annually to recognize an individual's dedication to the field of education. The influence Traugh had on Maura Ziemski clearly extended beyond her time at Norwin.

"Through my four years of high school, Mr. Traugh was one of the people I have come to know and respect and has been one of the key role models I look up to, even after graduation," Ziemski wrote in her nomination letter. She described his dedication, not only to the band program but to the entire community for making the band such an outstanding ambassador for the Norwin area.

Traugh clearly reciprocates those feelings of gratitude. "Honestly, it is humbling to receive such an honor," he said. "I feel very fortunate to work in a district that provides the opportunity and resources for teachers to go above and beyond and also to work in a community with a wealth of wonderful young people." Traugh also won the award last year.

Kate McCauley, a former student of Angela Knipple, lauded the teacher's ability to foster great relationships with students, while utilizing eccentric teaching styles in a fun, inspiring learning environment.

"All through my high school career and now into college, Mrs. Knipple has been a very influential person," McCauley wrote. "She makes sure that she can do whatever it takes to help her students."

"When you're interacting with so many students every day, sometimes it's hard to tell if you're making the impact that you want to be," Knipple said. "I felt so blessed to hear that I wasn't wrong."

Both Traugh and Knipple received a certificate, along with a letter of recognition from Brother Norman Hipps, the president of St. Vincent College.

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