Cynthia L. (Babcock) Green ’94
2021 Henry P. and M. Page Laughlin Educator Award
Many people who look back on their education can recall one special teacher from childhood who made a significant difference in their lives. An educator who always had time to talk, or better yet, listen … someone who brought the day’s lesson to life in fun and engaging ways … an enthusiastic advisor who encouraged students to lead and learn in extracurricular activities … a teacher who continued to care about them long after the last bell rang.
Class of 1994 Ursinus graduate Cynthia (Babcock) Green is that special teacher.
According to her classmate Erika (Compton) Butler ’94, who nominated her for this award, Green’s commitment, effort, and dedication to her seventh and eighth grade students at Centerville Middle School in Lancaster, Pa., is to be highly praised. In agreement are 80 other Ursinus graduates who added their names to recommending Green for her 25 years—and counting—of teaching English and language arts, leading student programs, mentoring new peers, volunteering, and always having the students’ best interests at heart.
Green earned a bachelor of arts degree in English at Ursinus and a master’s degree in reading from Millersville University. She credits her experiences at Ursinus, the intimate setting of campus, and the individualized instruction as instilling the confidence she needed to become a stand-out teacher. Sparking the writer’s muse in her eighth-grade creative writing class, she regularly references the message “to write about what you know,” taught to her by Dr. Jon Volkmer, her Ursinus English professor and current director of the college’s creative writing program.
Green embodies the belief that teaching is a vocation, not a profession. Her spirit for education is as strong as it was when she received the Teacher of the Quarter Award the very first quarter of her first year in the classroom in 1996, an honor that she has received multiple times. Green was also recognized by her school district with the Keystone Technology Integrator Award for excellence in technology use to improve teaching methodology and effectiveness.
Green is often noted for her commitment to the individual success and well-being of her students—she’s a true relationship-builder. She understands that middle school is a transformative moment for young people and responds by providing a safe, trusting, and consistent environment. To that end, she will often give of her own personal time—before, during, or after school—in order to offer students full learning and emotional support.
In another letter submitted supporting this nomination, fellow teacher Jennifer Karkoska said, “Cynthia is not only a highly respected and admired teacher, but she is also well loved by all.”
Q&A with Cynthia (Babcock) Green ’94
How is winning an Ursinus Alumni Award significant for you personally and professionally?
I am so proud to receive this award! I absolutely LOVE teaching, so to be recognized as an outstanding educator is amazing!
How did Ursinus College prepare you for a career as an educator?
Ursinus gave me a self-confidence I didn’t always have in high school. I found friends and professors whom I could rely on to grow as an individual. This newly found self-confidence is what makes me a stand-out teacher!
How have your Ursinus mentors shaped your role as a leader in your industry?
First of all, I loved the intimate setting at Ursinus. I would have been lost in the shadows at a large university. Instead, the small class sizes helped me receive the best individualized instruction. When I teach creative writing to my 8th graders, I often find myself trying to convey the importance of writing about what you know - just like Dr. Volkmer taught me!
What has been your proudest contribution to your professional community?
Over my 25 years in teaching, I’ve been involved in many different types of committees and clubs. However, my proudest contribution doesn’t involve a club or committee. I am proud to be an approachable resource to my colleagues. I readily share resources, lesson plans, and activities with my fellow educators. Furthermore, my colleagues often come to me with technology questions. If you asked my fellow staff members, they might say my laugh - it brightens the hallways.
What was your proudest UC moment?
I am proud to have been actively involved in extra curricular activities. Freshman year, I thought - hey why not join the cheerleading team, so I did. I earned Varsity letters in Cheerleading as well as Softball. I was involved in intramural volleyball and basketball. Finally, I was a proud member of Tau Sigma Gamma!!