GARFIELD TEACHER RECEIVES 2014 YALE EDUCATOR AWARD
Kevin Murchie certainly made an impression on one of his students. Janet Juarez is now a freshman at Yale University. Without him, she believes her experience at Garfield Senior High School would have been much different, and certainly less rigorous. As a result, she nominated him for a special award.
He won. The Yale Office of Undergraduate Admissions recognized him as a recipient of the 2014 Yale Educator Award.
“Receiving this award, any award for that matter, for teaching is humbling,” Murchie said. “We didn’t become teachers for fame or glory; we do it because we have a love for learning, community, and helping people. Thus, the true honor is that a student took the time to do this for me. Teaching is, largely, a thankless profession. Rarely does anyone take the time to say thank you for the sacrifices that we make. So, it is moments like this, when a young person feels compelled to tell you and others how important it all was and will be, that you made a difference in their lives, that makes it all worth it. When the alarm goes off in those early a.m. hours, it is moments like these, relationships with students, these types of success stories, that motivate me to get out of bed and take on the day again.”
Students entering Yale’s Class of 2018 nominated outstanding educators who deeply affected their lives. Juarez, a 2014 Garfield graduate, recommended Murchie for his critical role in shaping her future.
“As an Advanced Placement English Language teacher, Mr. Murchie did more than prepare my class …for the AP exam,” Juarez states in her letter of recommendation. “Although several teachers opposed it, he had my class … read novels such as ‘The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn’ by Mark Twain and ‘Into the Wild’ by Jon Krakauer because he wanted us to face several problems plaguing our society instead of pretending they did not exist.”
He also was also the faculty sponsor of the school newspaper, The Scuttlebutt, and she was the editor. He encouraged students to express their thoughts about any topic. As a result, Juarez learned to appreciate the ideas of other students, even when their opinions contrasted with her own. “Besides increasing our societal awareness, Mr. Murchie helped many students, myself included, appreciate writing,” Juarez says.
This award recognizes educators who inspire and help their students to perform at high levels and to achieve excellence. This year’s nominees represent 39 states and 20 countries. Murchie is one of 53 teachers who received this honor, along with an engraved desk set.