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South High teacher honored

April 27, 1999

Teacher of the YearBy KIMBERLY YAKOWSKI / Staff Writer

photo: RIC DUGAN / staff photographer




Evelyn Williams, a social studies teacher at South Hagerstown High School, has been named Washington County Teacher of the Year for 1999.

"You've heard the term 'dumb luck.' Well that applies to me. But I was smart enough to realize that and surround myself with lots of wonderful people," Williams said Tuesday night after receiving the award at the Howard Johnson Plaza Hotel.

The daughter and granddaughter of teachers, Williams said she always knew she would follow in their footsteps.

"I guess it's hereditary," she said.

Williams said she would spend hours as a child helping out in her mother's classroom, washing black boards, sharpening pencils and making photocopies she pretended were for her own students.

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At South Hagerstown High School, Williams is chairwoman of the social studies department, Key Club adviser and a member of the school improvement team.

Area educators, students and business leaders chose Williams as Teacher of the Year from a group of five finalists.

Washington County Board of Education Vice President Paul Bailey praised all of the nominees.

"They are not excellent because they achieve great things. They achieve great things because they choose to be excellent," he said.

Theresa Flak, assistant superintendent for instruction, spoke of the nominees' commitment to excellence in education.

"The teachers reach out and touch in a way that has a profound impact on children," she said.

Flak said educators face an "awesome responsibility in modeling the children of tomorrow."

Taking on that responsibility and helping to inspire students is the most rewarding part of the job, said Williams.

"I love to hear from students who took up law school after participating in a mock trial and others that decided to write a letter to the editor after a discussion we had in class," she said.

Williams received her bachelor of science degree from Auburn University and her master's degree from Western Maryland College.

An 18-year classroom veteran, Williams studied modern Asia at Yale University last summer and will travel in China and Hong Kong during July.

She was one of 20 educators selected from a pool of 200 applicants to help improve the quality of teaching about Asia in U.S. schools.

The Yale University Program in International Educational Resources initiated the two-part project, "Teaching about the New China," a curriculum and field study program.

"I am looking forward to it. It should be very intensive," said Williams, who is learning mandarin for the trip.

For being named Teacher of the Year, she received a $500 check from the School Board, $500 from the Hagerstown-Washington County Chamber of Commerce and a three-credit voucher from Frostburg State University.

By receiving the local honor, she qualifies to compete in the Maryland Teacher of the Year competition.

-- The finalists

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