|Owen Riley (center), Clemson University MFA in Art (photography) 2010|
This singular recognition was presented at the Underclassmen Awards Chapel on Wednesday, May 20, by Honor Council Chair Jiten Parbhoo ’15 and Student Council Secretary/Treasurer Caroline Vermillion ’15.
The award was established in memory of two outstanding CCES teachers, Catherine Wing Jones and her daughter, Ellen Jones Donkle (CCES Class of 1974). One or both were part of the faculty continuously for 35 years, from 1966 through 2001, with Cathy Jones teaching history for 27 years, and Ellen Donkle teaching PE and coaching for 20 years. The award will be given each year by members of the CCES Student Council and Honor Council to recognize “an individual who demonstrates genuine commitment to his or her subject or area of responsibility. The recipient must also be someone known for personal devotion to students, defined as ‘going the extra mile’ for them.” Recipients receive a monetary award.
Jiten and Caroline called Owen to the lectern to receive his award (and enthusiastic applause) with these words:
Upon joining the CCES community in 2012, this teacher immediately began to establish meaningful relationships and work diligently to share his wealth of knowledge with students of all grade levels. His personal interest in each student with whom he works distinguishes him and defines him as an exceptional teacher. Passionate about his work, as well as his students, he continually inspires students to produce their best work. Teaching a variety of classes, his critiques are always positive and helpful, pushing students to reach the full potential that he recognizes in them, even when they do not see that potential in themselves. It’s no wonder that students continue to take his classes, year after year. One of his students says, “he gives us his best, inspiring us to give the same back to him.” Another mentioned his encouragement of students through critique in a positive way. “Even if I took a terrible picture, he still managed to find something good to say about it and teach me to how to make it better.”
Outside of the classroom, this teacher continues to show dedication to helping students with projects, regardless of whether or not they have taken one of his classes. He is incredibly experienced in his field, and constantly inspires students to cultivate their talents in both photography and journalism. With his guidance, students have earned numerous awards for their photographs. Under his careful leadership, the journalism program has flourished and grown since his arrival. Perhaps most admirably, in addition to teaching, encouraging, editing and helping students with an array of tasks, he is a full time father. The same love and passion that we see in him for his career, we are lucky enough to see every day in his relationship with his family.
Congratulations, Mr. Riley! If you wish to send him a personal note of congratulations, please email Mr. Riley at firstname.lastname@example.org.