This award recognizes Dr. Carol Semonsky, Associate Professor Emerita for her outstanding leadership in Foreign Language Teacher Education at Georgia State University. Each semester the award is bestowed upon one student teacher or intern who demonstrates exceptional excellence and creativity in standards-based and proficiency-based instruction. Award recipients are those who consistently plan and implement engaging lessons that motivate language learners while developing outstanding rapport with learners and colleagues.
Sanja Vidakovic (left)
Ed Cieslak (left)
"I started studying French back in high school and knew on the second day of that class that I wanted to one day speak French fluently. My teacher never spoke much in class and I always wanted more. Having aspirations to be an artist with the intention of wanting to speak French better, I decided to move to France after high school and try to get into a French fine arts program or university. After a year in the country and immersed in the language, I was able to communicate well enough to become accepted to L'Ecole des Beaux Arts in Angers. I continued on a path as an artist for the next fifteen years becoming a computer animator and graphic designer. I discovered teaching in 2001 and never looked back. After five years of teaching CGI, I became burned out in that industry. I wanted to continue to teach, but not art. I decided to fall back on my love of the French language and pursued my certification at GSU in 2009. I am passionate about speaking the language and feel that I can elicit this passion in other students by immersing them in class and sharing with them the opportunities that were available to me because of my language skills. For example, I was able to travel easier and to communicate better worldwide while teaching and living in South Korea from 2002-2003, I had the wonderful opportunity of working in the 1996 Olympics in Atlanta as a Translator, and I had the unique experience of being on a game show in France where I ended up winning the grand-prize, which by the way can be seen on YouTube. Everyday, I share these memories (and videos) with my students in my class at Duluth High School in order to awaken in them the wonders of the world of languages."
"I grew up in Huntington Valley, Pennsylvania until I moved to Atlanta in 2007. I attended University of Georgia for my undergraduate degree and I'm now working on my masters in French Studies. I enjoy running road races for good healthy competition and reading on many different topics to continue my education. Currently, I'm teaching French at Berkmar High School in Gwinnett County. One of the things that I love doing with my students is engaging them to speak French while learning about their interests and pushing them to always do more."