Teacher wins high honor

Sandy Conlon headed to China as part of award

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— Steamboat Springs High School world history and literature teacher Sandy Conlon will spend part of her summer studying and traveling in China thanks to a prestigious Fulbright-Hays Award.

"It blows me away to even think I have the opportunity," she said.

Conlon said being immersed in the history and culture of China will give her the chance to be a student again. She will travel to China in late June and return in July.

"Frankly, I applied (for the Fulbright-Hays Award) to be a better teacher," she said. Conlon said if she had it her way she would teach history by traveling with her students. "You learn in a way you can't learn by reading a book," she said.

The trip is designed for educators to increase their understanding of another culture throughout the international world. As part of the program, Conlon is required to develop a curriculum unit based on her experiences in China.

Conlon has already created units about Turkey, Italy and Greece after traveling to those countries.

When Conlon returns from her trip, she plans to teach how a developing market economy affects other aspects of government and society and how membership in world communities affects the lives of all people.

"Half of the fun of traveling and studying in other countries is the wealth of new and firsthand knowledge I can gain and share with my students and colleagues," she said.

The trip will include visits to Xi'an, Kunming, Guilin, Shanghai and Hong Kong. Through traveling to different destinations in China, the group of Fulbright winners will study politics, economics, education, music, art and folklore.

The study program is preplanned to include an academic and travel itinerary.

Conlon said she is excited about passing along what she learns of Chinese culture to her students.

"I aim for my students to understand the social, political and philosophical issues that divide, as well as those that unite, diverse people in the world," she said. "I want them to understand that differences in thought, action and behavior need not lead to hatred or violence.

"My intention has always been to acquaint (students) with ideas and experiences that are not familiar to them and to foster a broader perspective of human nature and world events than they get from life in a small resort town."

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