Amherst College presented diplomas to 409 seniors at Commencement May 22.
Secondary school teachers honored during Commencement weekend
At each Commencement for the past nine years, the college has awarded the Phebe and Zephaniah Swift Moore Teaching Awards to secondary school teachers who have had a significant impact on the lives of Amherst’s graduating seniors. The recipients, who also receive a cash prize, are chosen by a committee
of seniors, faculty and staff from nominations submitted by graduating seniors. This year’s graduating seniors submitted nearly three dozen nominations, the highest number ever. The awards this year went to the following five teachers.
Robert Arrigo, a mathematics teacher from Scarsdale (N.Y.) High School, was nominated by Amrit Amirapu, who saw in Arrigo’s calculus class “something beautiful and foreign in its beauty.”
William Curtis, a Latin teacher at Camden Hills Regional High School (Rockport, Maine), was nominated by Rebecca Stein, who said that Curtis is “hardly your typical Latin teacher.” She said Curtis was an “avid lobsterman” who greeted students “with Latin salutations delivered in a thick Maine accent.”
John and Carol Longhenry, teachers of English and history at Auburn High School (Rockford, Ill.), were nominated by Max Rettig, who called the couple “my school’s Emily Dickinson and Henry Steele Commager.” Rettig said the Longhenrys created in an under-funded urban school “an Academy that would please even Plato.”
John Stephens ’56, a history teacher at the University School of Milwaukee (River Hills, Wisc.), was nominated by Jennifer Wertheimer, who praised the “intelligence, enthusiasm and passion” of a
Socratic teacher “asking question after question to make us really think.”
The Phebe and Zephaniah Swift Moore Teaching Awards are named for Amherst’s first president and his wife.
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Photo: Frank Ward