2016 Dr. Lee Gurel Award Recipients Announced

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The Board of Directors of the Worcester Educational Development Foundation, Inc. (WEDF) is pleased to announce the recipients of the 2016 Dr. Lee Gurel Awards for Excellence in Teaching and Learning Advanced Placement English. One student and his/her teacher are selected annually to receive these awards, endowed by Dr. Lee Gurel in honor of his English teacher at Woodland Street Preparatory School, Miss Wilmont.

This years’ awards will be presented to South High Community School student Alicia Ireland and her teacher James Donnelly. Ms. Ireland achieved the highest ranking score on her Advanced Placement English examination. Past recipients include students and teachers from Burncoat High School, Doherty Memorial High School, and North High School.

Dr. Gurel is a Distinguished Alumnus of the Worcester Public Schools who was born in Europe in 1926 and came to the U.S. when he was three years old. Dr. Gruel grew up in Worcester and attended Worcester Public Schools, including Woodland Street Preparatory School and Classical High School. Gurel then went on to earn a B.A. in Psychology at Clark University in 1948, M.S. and Ph.D. degrees from Purdue University in 1950 and 1952, respectively.

Dr. Gurel enjoyed a long career as a research psychologist with the Veterans Administration. He last held the position of Chief of Research in Mental Health and Behavioral Sciences at the Washington, D.C. VA Hospital. He retired from full-time work in the early 1990s but continued in a part-time consulting role until 1998.

"I feel that I—as we all do—owe a debt to the teachers and institutions that equipped us for fuller, more satisfying lives," said Dr. Gurel. "The concept of debt goes beyond what fundraisers preach as 'giving back.' A contribution to education, for me, goes beyond that choice, that volitional act. No matter how inadequate it may have been, we have an obligation, a debt, to repay education for equipping us with life style tools and for enriching our lives."

Congratulations to Ms. Ireland and Mr. Donnelly.