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Sycamore Inspires: Borgmann Inspiration Fund Chooses Inaugural Recipients

Sycamore Inspires


Sycamore’s faculty and staff are the lifeblood of our school and our most valuable resource. The Borgmann Inspiration Fund was created to fund opportunities for teachers and other staff to reconnect with the drive that inspired their choice of work in the beginning. 

We are proud to announce the first two recipients of the Borgmann Inspiration Fund award.  Sycamore 1st Grade teacher Jennifer Hendry and 4th Grade teacher Julie Clawson were chosen to pursue their projects this summer.  Jennifer will travel and study in the Galapagos Islands while Julie will travel to Australia. They were chosen after a Selection Committee (Head of School, trustee, 3 teachers, 2 administrators) reviewed and evaluated all the completed applications. 

“I am so excited about Julie Clawson's and Jennifer Hendry's Borgmann Inspiration Fund grant awards,” Sycamore’s Head of School, Diane Borgmann says. “Their proposals, chosen by the Selection Committee from a group of excellent submissions, are a trip to Australia and one to the Galapagos Islands, respectively, that exemplify the spirit and purpose of the Borgmann Inspiration Fund. Next fall, be ready to hear about their adventures.”

Sycamore encouraged applicants to think expansively about ways to gain renewal and refreshment of their own professional zeal. 

Hendry’s project is titled “Community, Culture, and Conservation in the Galapagos Islands” and will include visits to four of the 13 islands in the Galapagos, with opportunities to explore the local culture, wildlife, and conservation efforts. 

"When my students leave my classroom at the end of the year, I want them to feel like mathematicians and scientists. More importantly, though, I want them to view themselves as members of a global community,” says Hendry, who has taught for 11 years at Sycamore. “I want them to recognize that they have a responsibility to care for and support this community. This is an opportunity to explore parts of the world that many people will never see.  The Borgmann Inspiration Fund has not only given me a financial award, but it has also reminded me that I have value and that my work and my efforts are seen and viewed as an asset that Sycamore does not want to lose." 

Clawson, in her 9th year at Sycamore, is planning an adventure in Australia, with stops in Brisbane, Queensland, Great Barrier Reef, and the Gold Coast. Visiting Australia--especially holding a koala bear--has been a lifelong dream of Julie's.

“Even though the purpose of this trip is a renewal and it doesn't have to be tied to school, it would be difficult for me to take a trip like this and not be able to relate it to my teaching,” Julie says. “Learning about the Aboriginal people relates to our 4th grade Westward Expansion unit, where we discuss how the movement westward affected the Native Americans of the U.S., and make connections with the Aboriginals of Australia. Julie has two friends who are educators, and she is looking forward to visiting their school while there.”

Borgmann says the greatness of the Inspiration fun lies in the “everybody wins” aspect of the project. “Our students will benefit from faculty and staff who are passionate about and stimulated by their work and that passion will undoubtedly serve to ignite passion in our kids,” Borgmann says. “Inspired and motivated teachers inspire and motivate kids.”

"I cannot imagine not giving all of myself to the school that has given so generously to me,” Hendry says. “The privilege of a grant is not something that I take lightly."

“I am unbelievably excited and appreciative of Diane for starting this fund and to those who donated to it,” Clawson says. “I'm still in shock that because of this Inspiration Fund, I will be able to make this dream a reality. I am so thankful and grateful for this amazing gift.”

Projects for both teachers will take place this summer. After completion of their travels and discovery, Hendry and Clawson will create and present a narrative review of the project, its successes, difficulties, and impact. They both will also share the project at a faculty meeting, plus other professional gatherings or meetings of interested parties, including parents and kids.

Give to the Sycamore Inspires campaign

Sycamore 4th Grade teacher Julie Clawson

Sycamore 1st Grade teacher Jennifer Hendry

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