Steve Pilewski is receiving the CAMWS Special Service Award for his long-standing and dedicated service to the
Classics in Illinois. Although he was once a Latin teacher he has worked for many years in the U.S. government
in a position with no connection to teaching the classics. Nevertheless, he remains a willing volunteer who
works selflessly in many different capacities on behalf of Latin students and their teachers. He writes
questions for contests, grades contest papers, assists at Illinois Junior Classical League (IJCL) conventions,
serves as an officer of the Illinois Classical Conference (ICC), and has been a valued member of many ad hoc
For countless years he has written questions for the Illinois Latin Tournament (ILT) and then rated the papers
that were written. While test writers and graders receive some modest payment for this service, the
remuneration is not enough to make it worthwhile for anyone but a professional teacher or a true amateur. Steve
is the latter. He offers his services annually to ILT simply because he loves Latin and wants to foster similar
love in younger generations.
Another way that Steve contributes to the scholarship of Latin students in Illinois is evidenced by his unpaid
work for the Illinois JCL. He helps to formulate the written exams for their annual convention; then, in his
“free” time after a full day of work, he devotes many additional hours to proofreading the exams and compiling
the answer keys. His watchful eye and quick wit have helped make this process accurate and enjoyable. For the
two-and-a-half day convention itself, not only does he use a day of personal leave in order to be there on
Friday, but he takes on the daunting task of tabulating and recording the scores of 350 students in over 60
contests, thus leaving teachers and chaperones free to spend time with their students.
Steve has also served Illinois Classical Conference in many different roles: on the auditing committee, as
Treasurer, and as Secretary, a position he currently holds. In recent years Steve’s careful attention to detail
has been a special asset as the ICC rewrote its constitution and by-laws; his keen understanding of
parliamentary procedure has been a tremendous help to the ICC’s leaders whenever organizational problems arise.
He has even given presentations at ICC meetings and at Monmouth College: in his paper, “And Scheduled
Intermediate Stops: Classical Mythology and the Burlington Railroad,” Steve combined his love of the classics
with another love, railroading, and illustrated the use of mythological names and references in railroad
history. As the current ICC President, Laurie Jolicoeur, observes, “I forget that Steve is not a Latin
teacher. I can depend on Steve for a prompt response to any inquiry I make. He is remarkable, a font of ICC
history. I am always assured that when I communicate with Steve his prime concern is what is best for ICC
rather than having some hidden power agenda.”
For his steady enthusiasm and careful competence, his willingness to volunteer even for tedious tasks, and most of all his contagious love for the Classics, CAMWS is proud to give Steve Pilewski the Special Service Award.
--Julia Dyson, Chair, Steering Committee on Awards and Scholarships