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Terre Haute South teacher receives Battey National Educator Award

The Honor Scholar Program at DePauw University has named Mrs. Peggy Grabowski the 2024 Battey National Educator of the Year. This award annually recognizes an outstanding secondary teacher who inspired an honor scholar during their high school years and continues to have an impact on their intellectual curiosity.

Headshot of award winner

Grabowski, an English teacher at Terre Haute South Vigo High School and 33-year veteran of the profession, has earned a distinguished reputation for both her teaching and her advocacy. In addition to the classes she instructs, including a Holocaust Literature course she created in 2013, Grabowski is actively involved in several student organizations. Since 2008, she has been the sponsor of the school’s STAND Club (Students Taking Action Now Darfur), a student-led movement to end mass atrocities. She is also the highly accomplished coach of the Academic Spell Bowl and the Academic English Super Bowl teams, winning a total of seven state championships along the way.

“Mrs. Grabowski’s education and guidance are why I am so passionate about the social justice work I am involved with today,” wrote Allision Weiner ’25, an honor scholar pursuing a major in Global Health and a minor in Peace and Conflict Studies at DePauw. In her nomination letter, Weiner acknowledged the wide reach of Grabowski’s impact. “Mrs. Grabowski has influenced the lives of hundreds of students over the past few decades, both as an educator with her dedication and passion to ensure students develop a love of reading, and as an activist by teaching students the importance of advocacy.”

These outcomes are anything but accidental. Grabowski has a passion for shaping the lives of her students, a sentiment she articulated in an essay about her teaching philosophy. “My goal is for my students to take what they glean from my class and do something productive and positive in society: service work, community building, activism, and raising awareness as a young leader and global citizen.” She went on to write, “Every day I strive to be the best version of myself, and I hope to guide my students in becoming the best versions of themselves.”

Grabowski’s excellence in education has previously been recognized with the WTHI Golden Apple Award (2021), the Terry Fear Holocaust Educator in Action Award from the CANDLES Museum (2022), and the State of Indiana’s Never Again Ambassador Award (2024). She is the 17th individual to receive the Battey National Educator Award.

Award winner with nominating student and othersEstablished in 2007, the Battey Award is the result of the generosity of Joan Westman Battey ’54 and her husband Charles (Chuck). It was created to honor Chuck’s mother, a dedicated high school teacher who impacted the lives of countless students during her 30-year career as an educator. It also honors the excellence of DePauw's Honor Scholar Program.

While this benefits one outstanding teacher, selected among other worthy nominees, the spirit of the award honors all educators whose teaching and mentorship inspires young men and women to reach for the heights in their pursuit of education.

The award was formally presented at a recognition dinner at DePauw on Monday, May 13, accompanied by cash prizes for both Grabowski and her school.

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