UBC Engineering recently bestowed the 2012 McEwen Family Teacher Recognition Award on South Delta Secondary mathematics teacher Brian Outerbridge.
"Mr. Outerbridge transformed the mundane and average classroom into a collaborative and caring environment for his students. His aim was for us to become contributing citizens to society, and we have," said Rohit Singla, one of two UBC Engineering students that independently nominated Outerbridge.
Created to highlight the contributions high school teachers make to students and communities through their mentorship, the award celebrates those who go above and beyond teaching the curriculum to ensure students succeed not just academically but personally.
Students currently enrolled in the UBC Faculty of Applied Science that attended secondary school in B.C. nominated influential teachers.
"(He created) a change in attitude in many students who didn't previously hold math in the highest esteem. Part of it was due to the unorthodox amount of enjoyment that people experienced in class, which ended up altering their opinion of a math class.
And then of course there was the fact that most people understood and did better than they had ever done in a math class," said UBC Engineering student Colin Fraser.
"For many people, this meant they no longer felt restricted in their decision of a post-secondary program, opening up doors they had previously perceived as closed to them."
Outerbridge is commonly recognized for weaving humour into his class, his personable concern for students as individuals, inspiring confidence in his students and challenging them to do their very best.
"I have learned far more from my students than I could have ever hoped to have taught them," said Outerbridge.
In recognition for his outstanding influence on students, Outerbridge received a plaque at the annual UBC Engineering Excellence Celebration held March 1. South Delta Secondary receives $5,000 for enrichment activities, programs or development.
Outerbridge will be asked to nominate a current high school student to receive a $5,000 scholarship to attend UBC.
And the two UBC Engineering students that nominated him will receive $250 in recognition of their efforts.
The award was established through a $36,750 donation by Vancouver biomedical engineer Jim McEwen who believes strongly in the importance of celebrating our teachers.