HPHS Teacher Among 4 Nationwide to Receive Award from Northwestern

Howard Hill will be honored at the university’s commencement ceremony.

Courtesy of Highland Park High School
Courtesy of Highland Park High School

Highland Park High School science teacher Howard Hill is one of four teachers nationwide to receive this year’s “Distinguished Secondary Teacher Award” from Northwestern University.

The university asked graduating students to write essays about a former high school teacher who “touched their lives.” Nearly 80 teachers were nominated.

The four winners will be honored at an honors ceremony June 19 and at Northwestern’s commencement June 20. The award includes $2,500 for each winning teacher and $2,500 for each of their schools.

Have you or your kids had Hill as a teacher? Please share your thoughts and congratulations in the comments section below.

The following is from Northwestern’s press release announcing the award:

At Illinois’ Highland Park High School, Howard Hill is sometimes called a “salesman of science.” Weinberg College of Arts and Sciences senior Kathryn Halpern, who nominated her former environmental science teacher for the award, says that Hill not only has ignited an interest in environmental science in hundreds of high school students but also equipped them to live more ecologically friendly and sustainable lives.

A teacher at Highland Park for 14 years, Hill won a 2012 Presidential Award for Innovation in Environmental Innovation from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and The White House Council for Environmental Quality. From the very first day of class, his students find themselves doing field research out-of-doors in their efforts to conduct real-world environmental research. 

To explore the ways in which their school can reduce its carbon footprint, Hill’s students designed and built a biodiesel laboratory that converts used vegetable oil from the school’s cafeteria into biodiesel fuel that powers a generator. In turn, the generator powers the school’s athletic concession stands. While teaching his students about alternative energy, Hill encouraged them to explore the feasibility of a wind turbine at the school. Today a wind turbine provides additional green power.

Hill earned his bachelor’s of science degree from the University of Guelph and a master’s from Northeastern Illinois University. His goal is to make his students realize that they can make positive and innovative contributions to issues of sustainability and environmental quality. According to his former student, he is successfully doing just that.



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