Teachers receive awards for excellence

The Newtonite

by Ryan Condon and Alex Feit

This school awarded the Paul E. Elicker and Brenda Keegan awards for excellence in teaching in the spring to science teacher Zachary Snow and Latin teacher David Hawkins.

The Elicker award was given to Snow for being an excellent teacher with a great knowledge and love of his subject, according to French teacher Alieu Jobe, the head of the awards selection committee.

Science department head Amy Winston described Snow as a “passionate and dynamic teacher, who works hard to be both rigorous and fun.

“I could tell that Snow had a passion for biology and he made his students want to work hard.  When students left his class, some of them had an interest in pursuing biology as a career,” Winston said.

Snow first started teaching at Attleboro High School in 1999.  “I was looking for a job where I could be creative and share my love of biology with others, and that turned out to be teaching,” he said. He began teaching at this school in 2002, where he taught up until last year.  This year he is teaching at Sharon High School.

When Snow first heard he had won the award, “I was excited and proud,” he said.  “However, I had earlier in that week heard that I had gotten the job at Sharon, so that was somewhat awkward.  Once I heard I had won the award, it was a very hard decision to make about whether I wanted to stay or not.

“Being among the group of teachers that have won the award is a huge honor,” said Snow.  “I really respect the process that goes into choosing the award winners—it is an honest and strong process.  In the end, though, my choosing to move to Sharon was a personal and family decision.”

Hawkins won the Keegan award for “inspiring students to think broadly and deeply about their studies and their lives,” according to Jobe.

“He’s really about accommodating students to share his passion for Latin,” said Nancy Marrinucci, the world language department head. “I love working with him. He’s got a big heart and a great mind, and he’s good with the kids. He always speaks about how special his students are to him.”

“When I heard that I won, my first words were ‘I want a recount,’” Hawkins said. “I was very happy and honored.”

“It’s easy to teach bright, interesting and enthusiastic students like the ones I teach,” he said. “I also would like to think that I did a decent job teaching them and made the class fun.”

Hawkins started teaching Latin part time in 1999 at this school after he became bored with his law practice after 35 years, Hawkins said.

“I can’t say that I could remember all that I learned back in the 1950s when I first started teaching first and second year students,” Hawkins said.

According to Hawkins, the late Bob Mitchell, a Latin teacher at this school, mentored Hawkins during his first few years. After Mitchell died, Hawkins inherited teaching his honors and Advanced Placement classes, he said.

Hawkins still practices law along with teaching Latin, he said.