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Retired HHS teacher awarded by former President George H.W. Bush

Dec 10, 2018


The death of a President is news not heard with political bias. It is news that calls every citizen to reflect on a man who devoted his time to the country, identifying the ways in which he used his power for greatness. On November 30, President H.W. Bush died in his Houston, Texas home at the age of 94.

“This is America … a brilliant diversity spread like stars, like a thousand points of light in a broad and peaceful sky,” said Bush at his inauguration speech.

Bush’s administration created the Point of Light Award which seeks to honor individuals who initiate change in communities across America. Thus far, 6,000 people have received this award, one recipient being a former Hopkins social studies teacher, Dan Conrad.

Dan Conrad started the Community Involvement program in 1970-1971, the class is now almost 50 years old and the longest-lasting high school community service class in the country.

“I was teaching a sociology class and about a few weeks in, I remember saying, ‘You know, this is kind of boring…’ and I knew sending students out in the world would teach them more than movies and a textbook,” said Conrad.

Just how the class currently functions, students were sent out of the building to a place of their choice (such as schools, retirement homes, and animal shelters) once a day to earn academic credit. However, Conrad shared his class definitely wasn’t as structured as it is now.

In 1989, Community Involvement was one of six nationwide youth-service programs to win an award sponsored by IBM Corp. and U.S. News and World Report Magazine. Hopkins received a lab of 24 computers upon winning. Just a year later, Conrad was notified that he had been nominated and received the 54th Point of Light Award from Bush’s original board of directors.

Conrad awaited the landing of Air Force One at the airport along with two other Point of Light recipients from the state of Minnesota. Bush met and took a picture with each person.

“I may not have agreed with all of President Bush’s decisions, however, I did feel he was sincere when we met. He thanked me for my efforts and knew information about the Community Involvement Program that impressed me,” said Conrad

Conrad was at Hopkins for 17 years. He also worked at the University of Minnesota and Stages Theatre Company.

“I left Hopkins and went to the University of Minnesota, where my main job was to work with schools around the country to start similar programs,” Conrad said.

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