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Five ESU Alumni Receive Horizon Awards

February 14, 2017

Michael Vander Linden, an Emporia State University theatre alumnus and teacher at Burlington High School, is among five Emporia State graduates selected to receive the 2017 Kansas Horizon Award.

The Horizon Award is a regional competition that recognizes exemplary first-year educators. The competition is divided into four regions that correspond to the state’s U.S. Congressional districts, with up to four elementary and four secondary teachers selected from each region. This year’s program honored 32 Kansas educators for their accomplishments in the classroom.

Vander Linden began his college career at Washburn University, but completed his B.S.E. in English, speech and theatre at Emporia State in May 2015. During his time at Emporia State, he appeared in university theatre productions of “All Shook Up” and “Working.”

Horizon Award recipients were notified of their selection by Kansas Commissioner of Education Randy Watson and Deputy Commissioner Brad Neuenswader. Vander Linden and other recipients were then honored at a ceremony during the Kansas Exemplary Educators Network State Education Conference on Feb. 10 in Topeka.

In addition to Vander Linden, four other ESU alumni are Horizon Award winners:

  • Olivia Casey, Ellinwood Grade School;
  • Roger Laubengayer-Mena, Highland Park High School, Topeka;
  • Carly Bowden, Andover Central Middle School; and
  • Nova Latta, Chisholm Middle School, Newton.



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