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Student and alumna of College earn 2017 Cupcake Awards

by the College of Education at Illinois / May 9, 2017

An alumna and a student in the College of Education are recipients of the 2017 Cupcake Awards from the Champaign Urbana Schools Foundation.

Awardee Steve Keepes-England is pursuing a master’s degree in the Department of Education Policy, Organization & Leadership (EPOL). He has been a kindergarten teacher at Bottenfield Elementary in Champaign for a decade and is known for making the educational experience for children “magical,” according to his nominee, thanks to his high-energy personality and creative ideas.

Honoree Rhonda Turner ’99 C&I, Ed.M. ’03 C&I, is a fourth-grade teacher at King Elementary in Urbana, a school she attended as a child. Turner’s nominator said she has a “tenacity for teaching” that has led to student projects ranging from battery-powered boats to robots. Along with her two degrees from the College, Turner earned a certificate of advanced study in EPOL in 2009.

The Cupcake Awards began in 2010 and recognize educators who display outstanding service, hard work, positive attitudes, and cutting-edge ideas that enhance students’ learning. Keepes-England and Turner will be recognized for their efforts at a May 10 ceremony at Pear Tree Estate in Champaign and will receive $500 grants for their classrooms.

Karen Kaplan, a five-year nursing teacher in Urbana, will be honored as a Cupcake Award recipient alongside Keepes-England and Turner.