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Lawton teacher to be inducted into Educator's Hall of Fame

LAWTON, Okla._Helping students have fun while learning about the world was something Glenda Sullivan was passionate about as a geography teacher here in Lawton.

It also played an important part in Sullivan receiving her most recent honor, being inducted into the Educator's Hall of Fame. Sullivan taught at MacArthur Middle School and was named Lawton Teacher of the Year in 1996 and has received numerous other awards.

Glenda Sullivan says this wasn’t something she was expecting, for her, it's an honor to be inducted into the hall of fame with so many prestigious teachers. This is an honor that she never set out to achieve.

As her students called her, Mrs. Sullivan was the kind of teacher who wanted to get her students actively involved with each lesson to get them excited about learning geography.

"I think it's such an important subject, because the world we live in today, it's important to know where places are and other cultures. Not just where they are but all about the world," said Sullivan.

She says she went into every lesson telling her students it was her favorite, but one that sticks out in her mind was about Normandy, the site of the D-Day invasion during World War two, because she and her husband had traveled there.

"When you travel and you've been there and bring it back to the students, it makes it more realistic for the students and I think they felt that too," said Sullivan.

Another one of her favorite lessons was about Washington D.C. She gave her students a subway map, which they had to use to get from one tourist attraction to the next. She said she considered getting rid of that exercise one year, but a former student changed her mind.

"At the beginning of the year, one of the students from the year before came to me and said ‘you know what my favorite lesson was Mrs. Sullivan?’ I said no. She said ‘our trip to Washington D.C.,’ so I couldn't throw that one out," explained Sullivan.

Sullivan said she knew she was really connecting with her class when her students stopped asking what they were doing each day, and started asking where they were going.

"It wasn't just making it fun for students, I wanted them to learn. And I think children have to enjoy what they're learning to be able to really learn, they have to enjoy it too," said Sullivan.

Since her retirement in 2001, she has continued teaching as a consultant for the Oklahoma Alliance for Geographic Education. She incorporates pictures from her travels into Power Point lessons for other teachers to use in their classrooms.

Sullivan will be formally inducted at the 2014 Oklahoma Educators Hall of Fame Banquet and Induction Ceremony on August 1 in Oklahoma City.

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