Congratulations 2018-2019 Henry Drewry Award Recipients!

HENRY N. DREWRY became the director of the newly established Program in Teacher Preparation in 1968. He was instrumental in developing the program and in gaining state approval for granting NJ State teacher certification in 1969. He arrived from Princeton High School, where he taught history for 14 years, served as the Department Chair, and was the school’s only Black teacher at the time of his hiring.  Drewry became one of the first Black administrators at Princeton University and also taught the university’s first courses in black history and culture.

In his memory, the Henry N. Drewry Memorial Fund was created in 2016 by Princeton University alumnus, James G. Petrucci '86. This gift helps support Princeton University students seeking to complete their teaching certificate at the university.  In awarding the fund, special attention is given to students who are pursuing a social studies/humanities major; are completing their student teaching, and whose career interests and plans reflect the values of Mr. Drewry in the areas of educational access, diversity, and general school improvement. Read more about the Henry Drewry Memorial Fund here.

Meet this year's Henry Drewry Memorial Fund Recipients:

Sophia Alvarez '18

I was drawn to Teacher Prep because my experiences in an Oklahoma public high school showed me the power of good teachers--even within the worst institutional conditions and political environment. I majored in Anthropology at Princeton, with a certificate in Latin American Studies. Studying anthropology was a perfect entry into education, because it teaches you to notice how our daily interactions relate to bigger issues, like culture and learning. I also worked as a teaching assistant for the Princeton University Preparatory Program, or PUPP. Working with the incredible PUPP scholars convinced me that I wanted to teach in an urban school. 

I am now a student teacher at Trenton Central High School, where I am teaching United States History to 11th and 12 graders. When people ask me how it is going, I say two things: "It is so hard!" and "It's amazing!" Although teaching is challenging in so many ways I had not predicted, it is amazing to work with young people every day. I am learning so much every day about my students, myself, and the tiny intricacies of teaching, like how to phrase something or when to pass out papers. One memorable moment so far was when a student who had been repeatedly absent and disengaged produced a creative project on the 1920s that was above and beyond the expectations. Students never fail to surprise you!

I am grateful for the Drewry award because it has relieved some financial stress during this stressful, challenging time. After the semester of student teaching, I will look for a full time teaching job as a high school social studies teacher (and maybe speech and debate coach). I plan to stay in New Jersey or the Philadelphia area for the next couple years. I hope to find a school where I can experiment (high school anthropology, anyone?) and continue to grow as an educator.

Elisa Steele '17

I am working with 10th graders taking U.S. History I at Trenton Public High School this semester. We are part of Trenton High's Visual and Performing Arts campus, and most of my students will have engaged with art, dance, orchestra, band, or drama by the time they graduate. Sometimes my students ask me when I knew that I wanted to be a teacher, and I think my answer often surprises them. I haven't known for very long, and I am still working to understand whether teaching, administration, counseling, research, or policy will allow me to contribute most meaningfully to the field of education. I graduated from Princeton in the spring of 2017 with a degree in the Woodrow Wilson School. I completed the Teacher Prep coursework alongside education policy related courses. I pursued a Fulbright English teaching grant in Latvia last year and decided to commit to my 9th semester with the Teacher Prep Program when I realized just how much I could learn about the U.S. education system by training to be a teacher back in the states.

I am the first to admit that I am probably learning more this semester from my students, from my supervising teachers, and from my TPP mentors than I am teaching my students. These young scholars are vibrant, witty, sometimes sassy, and a joy to work with. The students are the best part of my semester so far; the stress of planning, re-planning, adapting, and being ready to work so early in the morning has been the greatest challenge so far.

I had enough of a background in education policy and in the classroom to know that teaching was a difficult job. This semester has highlighted just how challenging that job can be, and just how much our nation's teachers need to be supported and celebrated. I am thankful for all of the guidance and mentorship the Teacher Prep Program has offered me and my cohort of student-teachers throughout this eye-opening experience.

I am also incredibly grateful to have been granted the Henry Drewy Award for my student-teaching semester. I would not have been able to meet my incredible students and grow as an educator, thinker, and professional without the support of this award.