Wellington Represented at 2013 Dwyer Awards

Madison Dalton, News Editor

Wellington Community High School was proudly represented at the 2013 Dwyer Awards by two exceptional teachers, Barbara Incandela and Scott Zucker. Incandela and Zucker are each one of five teachers district-wide to be selected as finalists in their respective categories of Special Programs and Senior High Education. The awards ceremony was held at the Kravis Center on Tuesday, May 7.

Each year, in an attempt to promote excellence in education, Palm Beach County asks schools to nominate one teacher from each category to be considered for the prestigious honor. Each of these teachers then submits a nominee packet containing responses to several teaching-related questions, at least one letter of recommendation, and any other supporting materials that may reflect their teaching career. After reviewing these packets a committee comprised of representatives of the Economic Council of Palm Beach County and the Education Foundation of Palm Beach County select five finalists from each of the five categories: Elementary Education, Middle School, Senior High, Special Programs, and Career Education. These finalists are then interviewed by the committee before a final decision is made.

The Dwyer Awards are presented in honor of the late William T. Dwyer, a dedicated community leader who served on numerous boards and committees at the state, regional, and county level in an attempt to improve the quality of education.

Both of Wellington High’s nominees have had ample experience in teaching. Mrs. Incandela has been teaching for twenty seven years and Mr. Zucker has been teaching high school English for twenty eight years, and also taught five years at Palm Beach Junior College.

Mrs. Incandela began her teaching career fresh out of college.

“I actually worked at a camp when I was in college, and it was a special education geared camp and there I changed my major in college and went into E.S.E.,” says Incandela.
Mr. Zucker, on the other hand, was originally employed in the field of psychology.

“I actually fell into teaching more than making a conscious decision that I wanted to be a teacher. I was practicing as a psychotherapist and a colleague I worked with said there was an adjunct opening at Palm Beach Junior College, as it was called back then. I started teaching psychology and decided I liked teaching better than practicing,” Zucker notes.

He made the decision to teach at the high school level because it allowed him to relate better to the students.

“I remember what it was like to be a high school student,” Zucker explains, “I can still to some extent understand the way [high school students] view the world.”

Incandela and Zucker have both noted the great opportunity teaching offers them to positively impact the lives of their students.

“Memorable moments are things like graduations when the students are graduating in their cap and gowns and they’ve made it through high school and also when they get jobs,” explains Incandela. “When I see them in the community and they’re working and they’ve been a success after high school. Those moments are memorable for me because I feel like I had some input in that.”

In addition to giving him the ability to impact youth, Zucker enjoys the freedom that teaching offers.

“I get to be myself in the classroom,” explains Zucker. “I get to be open, silly, and serious. I get to interact with all of these wonderful students that I’m in contact with, and I get to see, hopefully, students recognizing things that they hadn’t recognized before. […] What makes me feel good when I’m teaching is when I look around and I see a little bit of recognition in my students’ eyes that something is happening in their head and they made some connection that they hadn’t made before.”