News Stories

Kate Weber Wins Mary Houston Griffin Award

Congratulations to North Campus Librarian and Instructional Technology Specialist Kate Weber, the 2019-2019 recipient of the Mary Houston Griffin Award.

Weber received this award for her proposal to use her in-depth look at the Holocaust, through a trip to Poland with City as Our Campus Partner Classrooms Without Borders this summer, as a catalyst to help students grapple with hard questions and challenging experiences. Weber previously earned this award in 2015 through which she incorporated the "Bigshot Camera," a build-it-yourself camera, to combine technology, makerspace, science, art, and storytelling into the curriculum to enhance student learning.

Weber's proposal was inspired by her own plan to process her emotions through poetry while visiting historic sites where concentration camps and ghettos once existed in Poland. She then thought about how writing could also be a useful tool for students to process events. Weber wondered, "What if instead of pushing these emotions under the rug, we used them to help educate some of our youngest students about both our tragic shared history, as well as current events that they are confronted by so often?"

She plans to have students in grades 2 – 5 keep haiku journals throughout the year, as a creative space to wrestle with their feelings about what they are learning in school, in the news, and in their own personal lives. At the end of the school year, students will present haiku poems they are willing to share at a haiku exhibition. Weber will also share more of her experience in Poland with fifth-grade students, in age-appropriate ways, in conjunction with their curriculum.

In addition, Weber plans to expand the collection of children's books that discuss the Holocaust in age-appropriate ways in the North Campus Library and incorporate City as Our Campus experiences with authors during the 2019-2020 school year, including a dual campus haiku-writing workshop.

The Mary Houston Griffin Award is presented to an esteemed faculty member who pursues an opportunity that will enrich students' educational experience and sustain the Mission of the school. Mary Houston Griffin W'21, an alumna and former faculty member whose contributions to the Winchester Thurston community sustained long after her departure from WT, provided the funding for this annual award.