News & Articles

Steppenwolf and Fidelity Investments’ Inspire the Future Award

by Libby Ford

On May 13, 2008, Steppenwolf for Young Adults Annual Award celebration honored two distinguished educators. Sandra Shimon, an English and Drama teacher and Principal Ken Hunter, both from Prosser Career Academy on the northwest side, were awarded the Fidelity Investments Inspire the Future Award. Fidelity Investments created this special award to recognize a Chicago Public Schools teacher and principal who are dedicated to the advancement of youth through theater and the arts in Chicago. Ms. Shimon is in her third year teaching high school at Prosser. A graduate of Dominican University with a degree in English Literature, she continued her education at National Louis University, earning a Masters in Teaching, specializing in secondary English. Her belief that good teachers are life-long learners has resulted in professional development relationships with Steppenwolf Theatre Company, Chicago Shakespeare Theater and Terra Foundation of American Art, among others. Through intensive training programs, she has explored the use of theater arts to better teach core discipline concepts. A Chicago native, Mr. Hunter attended Loyola University for his undergraduate work in Theology, where he graduated cum laude. He is currently a Ph.D. candidate at the University of Chicago. For the last 12 years, he has served as an administrator in Chicago Public Schools, the past five years as principal of Prosser Career Academy. Ken is and always will be a teacher who believes the arts are the best way to inspire those who will make the world in the future. The Annual Awards Celebration brings together members of the community who have participated in Steppenwolf for Young Adults programs. Teachers, board members, students and members of our Young Adult Council enjoyed a reading from Of Mice and Men one of Steppenwolf for Young Adults plays for next season, as well as a performance from the Immersion 2: Chicago Ethnography Project. The course participants included Chicago Public Schools teachers and members of our Young Adult Council. This year’s award winners have been very involved in Steppenwolf for Young Adults programs this year as well as in years past. Ms. Shimon’s classes have received in-school residencies and she participated in Steppenwolf for Young Adults educator courses including the Immersion 1 course, several Master Teacher workshops and this year’s Immersion 2: Chicago Ethnography Project. Sandra also took part in last year’s First Look 101. Principal Hunter is in the process of creating a Theatre Department and organized a summer teacher training workshop in conjunction with Steppenwolf’ production of The Crucible. Ken is also part of Steppenwolf’s Education Committee and a Season and First Look subscriber. Steppenwolf and Fidelity Investments are proud to honor these Chicago Public School educators!