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2009 Massachusetts Milken Award Winner

Milken Family Foundation Mission Statement

The purpose of the Milken Family Foundation is to discover and advance inventive and effective ways of helping people help themselves and those around them lead productive and satisfying lives. The Foundation advances this mission primarily through its work in education and medical research.

In Education, the Foundation is committed to:

  • Strengthening the profession by recognizing and rewarding outstanding educators, and by expanding their professional leadership and policy influence.
  • Attracting, developing, motivating and retaining the best talent to the teaching profession by means of a comprehensive, whole school reform.
  • Stimulating creativity and productivity among young people and adults through programs that encourage learning as a lifelong process.
  • Building vibrant communities by involving people of all ages in programs that contribute to the revitalization of their community and to the wellbeing of its residents.

In Medical Research, the Foundation is committed to:

  • Advancing and supporting basic and applied medical research - especially in the areas of prostate cancer and epilepsy - and recognizing and rewarding outstanding scientists in these areas.
  • Supporting basic health care programs to assure the well-being of community members of all ages.

A wealth of human potential is represented by individual people of all ages whose vision and purpose make them dynamic forces for change. The Foundation's mission is to help realize this potential by giving the support that enables people to create and carry out effective, lasting solutions to the challenges facing our communities.

Rebecca Duda
Grade 8 - Social Studies
Lakeview Junior High School
Dracut, Massachusetts

Rebecca Duda brings history to life, both symbolically and literally, for her students at Lakeview Junior High School. When her class studies World War II, Rebecca brings special guests to her classroom who lived through that era to share their experiences, such as army veterans and holocaust survivors. Her unit on the Civil War culminated in a series of student created Abraham Lincoln stamps, which her students designed and were later publicly displayed in the town library. Rebecca's class conducted an extensive research project at the 18th century Claypit Cemetery to research its inhabitants. This is not your run-of-the-mill history class.

With only five years of teaching experience, Rebecca's enthusiasm for history is strengthened by an educational wisdom that seems beyond her years. In addition to her position with Lakeview Junior High, she also teaches a graduate course at UMass Lowell. She organizes frequent field trips to historical landmarks so that her students can appreciate significant places firsthand, rather than just in a picture from a textbook. She instructs all of her students how to cite primary sources in papers, which is typically emphasized in high school and college. She is already going down in history as a young educator with a bright future.

Last Updated: November 30, 2012
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