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Private school teacher honored

June 17, 2004|by SCOTT BUTKI

scottb@herald-mail.com

Bonnie Pratt figures she must be doing something right as an English teacher at St. Maria Goretti High School.

At two separate ceremonies on April 22, she was named private school Teacher of the Year for Washington County, and best teacher at her school by the Archdiocese of Baltimore.

Pratt, 54, of Waynesboro, Pa., said she was aware earlier this year that a group of students, parents, teachers and an administrator had nominated her to receive awards from the archdiocese and the Hagerstown-Washington County Chamber of Commerce. She had no idea both awards ceremonies would be held the same night.

On April 22, Pratt attended the archdiocese awards ceremony in Baltimore. She spoke at the Washington County event via a video message recorded earlier in the day.

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Pratt said she is uncomfortable with the limelight, but her principal, Christopher Siedor, said she deserves the recognition.

"Bonnie Pratt engenders in her students a sense of curiosity, a commitment to excel, a joy of learning, and she gives uncommon depth and breadth to being a member of the Goretti family," Siedor said.

Pratt is chairwoman of the school's English department. An educator for 27 years, she has taught at Goretti for 15 years, she said.

She is involved with several extracurricular activities, including supervising the school's drama productions.

Pratt said that when she assigns students to read a book, they can reach any opinions they want about the book and its contents as long as they can provide information to support their position. As a result, sometimes she will just ask one question about a book and the rest of the class time will consist of students exchanging opinions, she said.

She knows she is doing a good job when she hears students, talking outside of class, quoting Shakespeare.

Pratt loves teaching English because she enjoys reading, she said.

"You can travel through books. There are so many interesting things in books," she said.

Along with students, she is always learning something new, Pratt said.

"The day that I stop learning in the classroom is the day I walk out the door," she said.

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