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Two Hampton Roads Academy faculty members honored with Wythe W. & Mary A. Holt Faculty Award

Hampton Roads Academy recently announced the two faculty winners of the annual Wythe W. & Mary A. Holt Faculty Award. This annual endowment award is presented to select HRA faculty members who are pursuing further learning opportunities, international travel experiences or research that will enhance their classroom teaching. The award was given to Upper School Spanish Teacher Sarah Andersen and Upper School English Teacher Heidi Speece.

Sarah Andersen will use the grant funds to travel to Guanajuato, Mexico this summer for an intensive two week program which is designed for non-native Spanish teachers who are interested in learning the latest and most effective ways to teach Spanish to their students. The course will also focus on common and difficult grammar issues and practical ways to teach these practices in the classroom. Andersen will be staying with a host family throughout the entire program and looks forward to immersing herself in the culture.

Heidi Speece will use the grant funds to travel to Eisenhower Presidential Library in Abilene, Kansas to research President Eisenhower. Speece’s great uncle, Laurence Hansen, was President Eisenhower's private pilot during WWII and they continued a close friendship after the war and during Ike's presidency. Despite meeting her Uncle Larry on several occasions as a child, she never had the opportunity to view his letters, papers, and artifacts that are on display at the Eisenhower Presidential Library in Abilene, Kansas. On June 6, D-Day, Speece will be traveling to Abilene, meeting with the library's archival team, and viewing these records. In addition, she will be touring Ike's boyhood home and visiting Kansas State University to meet with a history professor regarding President Eisenhower. From this experience, Speece plans to include her findings in her academic lessons and write several essays that will appear in a book that she is currently writing regarding her ancestors and their achievements.

The Wythe W. & Mary Holt Endowment was established by Mary A. Holt upon her death. The Holt family has long been a part of the Hampton Roads Academy community. Wythe W. served as one of the founding members of HRA and many of their children and grandchildren attended the school.