Latin might not be the first choice of favorite high school subjects, but Lawrence High School seniors on Friday named LHS Latin instructor Anne Shaw as the top teacher of the year.
The high regard that Shaw shows for her students was cited as one reason for her selection as the sixth recipient of the Allen Press Distinguished Teacher Award.
"She has respect for her students, so she doesn't have discipline problems," said senior Vanessa Hill after the Senior Recognition Ceremony at which Shaw was honored. "She even thanks us after class for coming to her class."
In addition, Hill said, "She has an incredible background of knowledge, and if she doesn't have the answer to your question, she'll be sure to look it up right then or take her own time out of class to look it up."
Senior Meredith Loveland said Shaw is a big reason that an extra hour of Latin is being offered at LHS this year.
"One of the things you hear when you come into this high school is that if you want an excellent teacher, take Dr. Shaw," Loveland said.
The secret to Shaw's success?
"I love the language and the literature, and I want to share the pleasure that I've had with Latin with as many students as I can," Shaw said.
She said it also helps that she has "responsive students and very supportive colleagues and administrators. I think it would be harder to do a good job if you felt you were alone."
LHS seniors were allowed to nominate any teacher for the Allen Press Award. A senior committee then narrowed the candidates down to five, and the top 10 percent of the senior class voted to select the winner.
The other LHS teachers reaching the final balloting for the award were Paul Stuewe, Judy Pohl, Dennis Rorabaugh and Mike Hess.
The award is accompanied by a $1,000 stipend donated by Allen Press.