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Behind Every Graduate

The Harold W. Pote “Behind Every Graduate” Award

Graduating seniors are invited to nominate that special high school teacher who inspired them to pursue a college education as they embark on their careers.

In 2006, Drexel University initiated the Harold W. Pote "Behind Every Graduate" Award for Excellence in Secondary School Teaching. The award was created to acknowledge outstanding high school teachers who provided a new perspective or inspired a student to consider a certain major or career. Drexel University values the high school teachers who have inspired our graduates. Drexel honored four high school teachers and the students who nominated them at its commencement ceremonies. We will continue this tradition of honoring excellent high school teachers in 2024 and beyond.

Award Details

This year, each awardee will receive an expense-paid trip to Philadelphia with a companion. They will attend the President of the University’s commencement ceremonies event where the teacher will be honored. In addition, a monetary award will be made to each awardee. All award recipients are required to attend the commencement ceremonies event.

Deadline for Submission

Friday, April 26, 2024


An active high school teacher of a graduating senior at Drexel University may be nominated. Relatives of graduating seniors are not eligible to receive the award.


Applications are currently live. Nominations must be submitted by April 26 and are made online and consists of two parts, 1) nomination information and 2) an essay.  The essay should be one-to-two pages and copied and pasted into the large field on the nomination form.

Make a Nomination

Judging and Criteria

Based on the one-to-two page essay submitted by the student, the Committee will consider the following:

  • What was the role of the teacher in encouraging the student to pursue a college education?
  • How did the teacher inspire the student to consider a certain major/career path?
  • How did the teacher teach the student to think?
  • What was the teacher’s interest in the student’s career goals?
  • How was the teacher a positive role model?
  • Did the teacher do something extraordinary for the student? 

The Committee will select a group of finalists who will be contacted and notified about the program. The finalists will be asked to send a resume and related information. The teacher’s school principal will also be contacted for a reference. The awardees will be selected from the group of finalists.