A package postmarked University of Chicago contained an unexpected surprise for Steve Rush last week.
Inside the box was a clear plaque bearing the inscription, “Steve Rush, Outstanding Educator.” A letter from the school’s dean of admission explained that Steve’s former student, Hans Weng ’14, had nominated him as part of its commitment to identify and commend outstanding high school educators.
St. Andrew’s College adheres to a high standard of teaching. But to be recognized in this way by a former student is a first, admits Steve, who was delighted that his former advisee and member of his philosophy class had thought to honour him this way.
“I immediately thought of Mr. Rush when the University of Chicago asked me for this nomination," said Hans. “He was always a great source of help and support for me. When I was doing well, he encouraged me on; when I struggled, he listened to me and offered me advice.”
Steve remembers meeting Hans in grade 9. His grasp of English was weak but he’d come here to improve it and to experience a Canadian boarding school experience. Over the next four years, Hans worked hard on his studies, proving himself academically and earning early acceptance to the University of Chicago.
“He was a great kid, quite intellectual though not particularly athletic,” Steve said. When Hans was encouraged to try squash, which Steve has coached for years, Hans took it as a challenge. “He was the last boy to make the U16 Squash team and through drive and perseverance, he became a competitive member of Varsity Squash.”
Now finishing up his first term, Hans says he feels at home at the University of Chicago where he studies calculus, Chinese, physics, and philosophy. He describes his classmates as “academically driven and brilliant.” He credits the Harkness Table-Method used in Steve’s philosophy class as preparing him well for conversations and for being less intimidated with sharing his thoughts in discussions.
Hans also thanks his four years of SAC boarding for preparing him so well for university life. And, of course, Mr. Rush, “who always treated me with respect.”
Just as one would expect from an outstanding educator.
Story by Cindy Veitch, St. Andrew's College