When Emma Willard School students and faculty returned for the 2018-19 academic year, Latin Instructor Diane McCorkle received the exciting news that she had been selected for the University of Chicago’s Outstanding Educator Award.
For more than three decades UChicago has invited their incoming freshman to nominate an educator who has influenced them, challenged them, or helped them along the path towards intellectual growth.
Caroline Galt ’18 says that while she was lucky to have many inspiring teachers at Emma, it was in Diane’s classes where she discovered her love of languages, particularly Latin which became her favorite subject. Caroline began studying Latin with Diane as a middle schooler, continuing all throughout her four years at Emma.
Diane even inspired Caroline’s college essay, which described a lesson on the origins of the word “companion,” that the class discussed over homemade bread prepared by Diane.
Caroline credits her Latin classes with teaching her the importance of practice and repetition when learning language, and collaboration when working through translation projects.
“I always enjoyed how her Latin classes taught me more than just Latin, opening up the ways that language connects to aspects of modern culture, the English language, and history,” she says. “I wanted to thank Mrs. McCorkle for her impact in getting me to UChicago.”
News of the award was a surprise to Diane, who felt honored to be selected, especially given the nomination from Caroline, a student she respected and admired for six years.
“Caroline brought so much enthusiasm and good humor to her work,” says Diane. “She really delved into Latin…I told her that they didn’t make an award worthy of the caliber of student she was!”
Please join us in congratulating Diane on this important recognition, and look for more about her and Emma’s Latin program in the upcoming fall 2018 issue of Signature magazine.