At the 2006 Northeast Conference on the Teaching of Foreign Languages, held March 30 - April 1 at the New York Marriott Marquis Hotel, four outstanding educators received Mead Fellowships to foster their development as leaders in the field through support for their individual projects. Project topics range from the creation of a program to help future teachers understand foreign language education at the elementary school level, to the investigation of the effectiveness of Integrated Performance Assessments as a catalyst for curriculum development and differentiation. NECTFL's Professional Development Committee Chair, Dawn Santiago-Marullo from the Victor School System in New York, reported that the 2006 Mead Fellows are an impressive group!
The four Mead Fellows attended the Conference, participated in workshops, met and worked with their assigned mentors, and set the stage for long-term articulation of their respective projects. As one stated, "It humbled me to be selected . . . At NECTFL, I had the opportunity to learn from teachers from the northeast and other parts of the country. The workshops and sessions provided me with further knowledge and potential partners for collaboration�"
|Bill and Ceil Ploran, Mead Fellowship Donors
The Mead Program could not be implemented without financial support from the outside. When a corporate sponsorship for the program ended a few years ago, the Northeast Conference Board of Directors was concerned that it might be necessary to cancel the Mead Fellowships. Given the critical need for identifying and nurturing the profession's future leaders, NECTFL's Board has tried to keep that possibility from becoming a reality. A number of past Mead Fellows have projects fully underway and have progressed to disseminating the results of their work through conference presentations and publications.
Through friendship with 2006 Conference Chair Nancy Gadbois, and in loving recognition of her late husband Bill's passion for foreign language study - and in particular for German - Mrs. Ceil Ploran chose to provide a generous gift of financial support for the Mead Fellows this year. Her donation was instrumental in assuring the program's continuation. The Northeast Conference is deeply grateful to Mrs. Ploran and hopes that the successful completion of this year's projects and the evolution of their four teacher-authors as leaders will provide the most appropriate expression of our thanks to her.
Bill and Ceil Ploran were married for 58 years. Bill graduated from Worcester Polytechnic Institute as a mechanical engineer, and his interest in both French and German arose from his study of the science and engineering manuals at the university. In 1969, he and his wife made their initial trip to Germany, and he soon started studying German in the evening classes of a local high school. His frequent travels reinforced his love of the languages, cultures, and peoples of Europe. He enjoyed visiting France, Germany, Czechoslovakia, and England.
Bill continued his study of German through chat rooms in the language and was often asked to attend student group meetings on the campus of Amherst College. When he died in 2003 at the age of 81, he was a student enrolled in German at Amherst, serving as a model to his younger classmates and to his instructors.
The Northeast Conference is most grateful to Bill's family and especially to Mrs. Ploran for sharing the inspiring story of this life-long language learner. Her thoughtful gift will have far-reaching consequences in the lives of the four 2006 Mead Fellows and will thus serve to honor the memory of her husband's commitment to the peoples and cultures he encountered through his studies and travel.
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